June 6, 2020
To the City of Vancouver elected officials:
We are writing today on behalf of YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society to:
- express our support for Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, BC’s calls to action of June 5, 2020,
- share our concern about the role of police within our communities, and
- ask for your commitment and action to address these urgent concerns.
We grieve Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Chevranna Abdi. We grieve the many more Black people who have died, including those whose names we will never know. Each name represents a preventable death of a Black person, within and beyond our colonial borders. We affirm Black Lives Matter in this time of Black deaths at the hands of police and white supremacy, this past week and beyond.
May 5, 2020
RE: Coastal Gaslink’s continued work during COVID-19
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Horgan, Minister Dix, Minister Hadju, and Minister Bennett,
We are writing today on behalf of YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society, a youth-led organization that addresses HIV and Hep C stigma. We are writing today to express our concern about the ongoing Coastal GasLink construction amid the multiple states of emergency that have been declared related to COVID-19. We, along with many Indigenous youth from across the province of British Columbia, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and many other organizations, are concerned about the isolated northern communities that are at increased risk of COVID-19 as a result of continued construction in their territories. We ask that you act now to close the Coastal GasLink site: constructing pipeline is not an “essential service,” especially without consent from the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.
We have exciting news: here at YouthCO, we have a new Shared Leadership Plan!
A Shared Leadership Plan is a tool that organizations can use to enable all people at all levels within an organization to take part in leadership, and is YouthCO's take on a strategic plan. Instead of leaving leadership decisions to only one or two people within an organization, a Shared Leadership Plan is built through conversations with everyone who works at YouthCO and our Board of Directors, so we can all decide together what our priorities should be. Putting our Shared Leadership Plan in writing, as we have below, gets us all on the same page about what our shared goals are and helps enable everyone in our organization, from volunteers to staff to board, to take a leadership role in activities and projects that are connect with our collective vision.
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Up-to-date information about novel coronavirus COVID-19 is available from the BC Centre for Disease Control at http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19.
If we need medical care related to COVID-19 because we think we may have been exposed to, or are experiencing, symptoms of COVID-19, we can call 8-1-1. We can also use the self-assessment at https://covid19.thrive.health/.
For non-medical information about COVID-19, we can call 1-800-COVID19 for information in more than 110 languages. We can also get information about COVID-19 from the Public Health Agency of Canada by calling the telephone information line at: 1-833-784-4397.
YouthCO HIV & Hep C Society expresses our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, and their jurisdiction and governance in Unist’ot’en, Gidimt’en, and across their unceded territory. As an organization of both settler and Indigenous youth, YouthCO calls on the governments of BC and Canada, the RCMP, and Coastal GasLink to stop current actions against Wet’suwet’en land, Wet’suwet’en people, and Wet’suwet’en ways of being. We ask that the federal and provincial government, the RCMP, and Coastal GasLink respect the free prior and informed consent protocol of Wet’suwet’en, and the traditional ways the Wet’suwet’en relate to the land at Unist’ot’en.
The BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is an important step by the provincial government to affirm and implement the self-determination of Indigenous peoples. As an organization led by youth most impacted by HIV and Hep C, we welcome this legislation that affirms the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is relevant here in what we now call BC, to support the implementation of UNDRIP, and to affirm Indigenous governance models. We look forward to its implementation as part of our work to create and support Indigenous youth leadership within HIV and Hep C movements.
Meet Tyler Robinson! Tyler is part of YouthCO's Poz Programs team, and works one-on-one with youth living with HIV who live in the Fraser region.
First Directions was back at it again this March, and this year's group of youth made three videos on important topics! With the support of the First Nations Health Authority, and the MAC AIDS Fund, we hosted another group of creative, outstanding, Indigenous youth from across BC.