TORONTO, Ontario (Tuesday, May 10, 2022) — The Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) has been chosen by Pride Toronto as its Charity of Choice, this year.
In a release, BlackCap said it is excited about the coveted honour, and to participate, in person, during Pride Month, and at the annual Festival Weekend (June 24-26), which, for the past two years, was held, virtually, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chosen by Pride Toronto’s Community Advisory Panel, the Charity of Choice is one of the honoured positions for the Pride Month commemorations.
Since 1989, Canada’s largest Black-specific AIDS service organization has responded to the threat of HIV and AIDS in Toronto’s African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) communities.
“Black people make up 20 percent of Ontario cases, despite being merely 5 percent of the province’s population. Our work is guided by our motto — ‘Because All Black People’s Lives Are Important’ — which serves as a reminder of our commitment to the human rights and dignity of all Black people, who are vulnerable to Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infections (STBBI),” the organisation added, in the release.
Black CAP is an important resource for thousands of Black people in Toronto, living with, or at risk for, HIV, AIDS and STIs.
“The agency works to create culturally-relevant outreach, prevention and support services for people infected with, affected by, or at risk of contracting, HIV. Despite social barriers, like HIV stigma, racism, homophobia, and poverty that make our work more difficult, what we do is necessary,” said Gareth Henry, Executive Director of Black CAP, at the Pride 2022 Program launch at the CN Tower on April 28.
“Black CAP provides much-needed counselling, settlement, practical and peer support, employment, housing, and social support services that help people achieve their goals. We also work with men, women, youth, and LGBTQ + communities to increase their knowledge and reduce their vulnerability to HIV, AIDS, and sexually transmitted infections.”
Through collaborative and innovative partnerships, Black CAP has provided a safe, caring, and welcoming environment to many individuals, who identify as 2SLGBTQ+, many of whom belong to BIPOC and immigrant communities.
Using a participatory approach to its community-based programs, Black CAP secured funding to work with 2SLBTQ refugees or newcomers to Canada, to provide them with a sense of belonging.
Currently, Black CAP is collaborating with the City of Toronto to address employment equity for the transgender community.
“We are creating a Trans/Non-Binary Employment Service Plan that includes, among its goals, the engagement of the African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) Trans and Non-Binary Community, to find out about their employment experiences and needs. We plan to create and offer an employment readiness module for ACB Trans and Non-Binary youth, BlackCap announced in its release.
Founded in the late 80’s, the organisation’s vision is “to see an inclusive Toronto and, by extension, Canada, where 2SLGBTQ+ are honoured, supported, and will participate in the policy and decision-making processes.
It includes an environment, in which reform takes place, to address institutional racism and creates opportunities for equal and barrier-free access to housing, healthcare, and other social services.
Black CAP is currently partnering with organizations, such as the Dignity Network, the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, the HIV Legal Network, Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance, and the Gay Men’s Health HUB (HQ) to foster the rights of 2SLBTQ+ communities.
In addition, the agency currently offers a wide range of programs and services, developed and implemented for, and by, members of the 2SLBTQ+ community. These programs support the overall wellbeing of community members and create social and political change, which address access to more effective healthcare services and empower participants to self-advocate effectively.