Anti-Black racism is a deeply rooted systemic issue that permeates all aspects of Canadian society. It manifests in a myriad of ways that are acutely relevant to our work in the HIV sector, including barriers to accessing services, disparities in physical and mental health outcomes, poorer social determinants of health, and the disproportionate impact of HIV on Black Canadians.
We cannot achieve the desired HIV endgame without addressing the lasting effects of our colonial history and the pervasive anti-Black racism within our institutions and social structures. Strategic moves to end HIV must ensure that Black communities in Ontario are not left behind. As a leader in the response to HIV, we must be at the forefront of these changes.
As first steps in this work, we share here the OHTN Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism and a Statement on Anti-Black Racism and Racial Violence. The Action Plan is designed to inform all programs at the OHTN, as well as the Board of Directors, policies, data use and governance, and internal workplace equity. The intent is to have our response to anti-Black racism be an integral part of the work that we do now and in the future. In addition to the Action Plan, the OHTN Board of Directors and Executive Director have developed a statement that makes unequivocal our stance with regard to anti-Black violence, white supremacy, and racial justice.
We recognize that this is one step in a lengthy process and commit to the ongoing push for racial equity and justice in the health system, the Ontario HIV sector, and our own work at the OHTN. We aim to update the community on our progress and hold ourselves accountable to the Action Plan goals. Please let us know if you would like to receive periodic updates on this work.