The Vision Our Future process at AIDS Vancouver is well underway! The Vision Our Future project is part of our current strategic plan, based on a decision from the membership at a Special General Meeting in February 2023. With great reverence for those who came before us, we set out to revise the mission, vision, values, and brand of AIDS Vancouver, including our name and our logo. Through this process, we have been exploring what it means to support people living with HIV into the future. Since this time, a Committee, including Indigenous people, people living with HIV, and Board members, has been leading the process. The current members of the Committee are Flo Ranville, Michael Leclair, Mike Hamata, and Sarah Chown (Executive Director).
Over the past several months, we have spoken with many community members about the things that make AIDS Vancouver special for them, and what they hope the future holds for the organization. We hosted group consultations with the Indigenous Committee, Peer Navigators, The Corner Committee, women living with HIV, Positive Talk, Grupo Latino, clients of the Grocery Program, and a group of long-term thrivers and survivors. We also hosted drop-in times for people to share their ideas with Committee members. In addition, we surveyed staff and Board members. We listened. Over and over, we heard the importance of HIV-specific services, even as the ways HIV affects our communities continue to change. We have also been reflecting on AIDS Vancouver’s beginning, the unknowns at the outset of the HIV epidemic, and the important contributions AIDS Vancouver has played in shaping the HIV sector as we know it today.
We are truly excited to share that we will remain an HIV-specific organization, with a renewed focus on supporting and empowering our communities, responding to HIV, and standing against HIV stigma. As one of the first HIV organizations in Canada, we are excited to continue our commitment to addressing HIV, while many AIDS Service Organizations are broadening their focus. Our continued work in HIV comes with a holistic lens around what people living with HIV, and navigating HIV risk, need to thrive. This includes a broader understanding of substance use, harm reduction, sexual health, and STBBIs, culturally-specific spaces, peer support, and facts without fear. As we get closer to our new purpose and brand, our commitment is that the best parts of us will stay the same, and we will meet the challenge of being more accountable to our values, and welcoming to all our communities. In particular, the work we do with HIV-negative people will align with the leadership of people living with HIV, who founded the very concept of prevention, and ensure that our HIV prevention efforts do not further stigmatize people living with HIV.
At this point in the process, we are more confident than ever that these changes will bring the best of AIDS Vancouver into the future with us, and that people living with HIV can continue to count on us. We are on track with our goal to share our new purpose and brand by the end of March 2024, and look forward to celebrating this milestone with you.
Thank you for trusting us with this journey,
Sarah Chown, on behalf of the Vision Our Future committee
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