An Important Follow Up to our Black Lives Matter Statement from June 5, 2020

December 17, 2020
On June 5 PARN posted a statement on our website and social media pages announcing our support for Black Lives Matter and affirming our commitment to recognizing and addressing racism in all its forms.
Months later, this statement sits heavy with us. By signing this statement, PARN made promises to the community that we can’t keep without acknowledging its role in perpetuating harm against Black communities. We know that racism drives health inequities, we see the outcomes in the HIV sector and beyond every day.
We also work closely with other systems that perpetuate racism and cause harm, including police services, child protection services, the education system and more. We have done little to try to dismantle these systems of oppression.
We would like to apologize for these failures of the past, embrace the opportunity we have in the present, and build an inclusive and representative agency going forward.
To do this, we need to learn from the ground up. PARN is committed to changing the way it thinks about its work and how services are delivered in the community. We need to review our policies, procedures and service delivery models to ensure that Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression philosophies and practices are embedded in our organization at every level. We have begun the first stages of Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression training with the Community Race Relations Committee and are committed to unlearning everything that fuels harmful practices.
PARN’s leadership, staff, service users and clients are predominantly white, and we recognize that this is a failure on our part to reflect everyone who lives in our community. Representation matters, and we understand that racialized peoples do not see themselves represented at our agency. This is a barrier that prevents people from coming through our doors to access services that can improve health outcomes.
We are embarking on this work at the same time that we will be engaging in work toward reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We recognize the histories and harms associated with colonialism are unique, and will be establishing sub-committees of our Anti-Racism Committee to address both anti-black racism and reconciliation. We will share more information with you as we progress on this journey.
Please see below for our original statement from June 5, as well as the OAN Statement that PARN signed on to:

We have witnessed unforgivable violence being directed at black people by the police in the USA and Canada.

We see through our work how anti-black racism fuels systemic health inequalities.

We have been silent for too long and we commit ourselves to challenging anti-Black racism and violence through our words and actions. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter movements in our communities, throughout Ontario, across Canada and the United States, and around the world.

Please see the following statement from the Ontario AIDS Network on behalf of PARN and the Ontario HIV Movement: