The Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) has been chosen as the Pride Toronto 2022 Charity of Choice and excited to participate in person during June, Pride Month, and at the annual Festival Weekend (June 24-26) which for the past two years were held virtually because of the pandemic.
Chosen by Pride Toronto’s community advisory panel, the Charity of Choice is one of the honoured positions for the Pride 2022 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% of Ontario cases despite being merely 5% of the province’s population. Black Cap 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). 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. “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 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 while 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. The plan is to create and offer an employment readiness module for ACB Trans and Non-Binary youth.
The 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.