The end of the year is fast approaching! Before we take a break for the Winter holidays, ACAS would like to let you know what has kept us busy the month of November, as well as give you a recap of this year’s World AIDS Day!
World AIDS Day 2015
ACAS calls on all Torontonians to Fast-Track to End AIDS with #RROR15 Red Ribbon on the Rocket Campaign
Fast-Track to End AIDS is UNAIDS’ theme for World AIDS Day 2015, a strategic approach which calls for countries across the globe to commit to front-load investments to address this worldwide epidemic; pay specific focus on the locations, populations and programs that deliver the greatest impact; standing firm on the protection of human rights; engages local leadership for targeted, sustained and accountable responses; and ensuring that leave no one behind.
To raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, ACAS for its second year launched its #RROR15Red Ribbon on the Rocket Campaign. Teams of dedicated volunteers, board members and staff outreached to Torontonians at a number of TTC stations and handed out information pamphlets & red ribbons to on World AIDS Day eve to encourage everyone to wear a red ribbon to help commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1st. (Above photo courtesy of Mingpao).
Not only did we give away 2,000 red ribbons, condoms and safer sex informational packages to TTC riders at this year’s outreach, the event was also covered by a number of media outlets including OMNI News Cantonese & Mandarin, DailyXtra, MingPao, and CCVoice. We would also like to thank OMNI News for taping two special interview segments in Cantonese and Mandarin to help promote a greater understanding of HIV within the Asian community.
November 2015 in Review
Celebrating the Life and Work of Dr. Kirby Hsu
On Sunday, November 1, 2015, ACAS held a Celebration of Life for the late Dr. Kirby Hsu. The event was organized by Ho Tam, Kirby’s partner, Dr. Alan Li, and ACAS. Kirby was not only the co-founder of ACAS, but also a pioneering trailblazer and fearless activist who lived publicly about his HIV+ status. He was a visionary who helped ensure the voices of people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) play a critical role in the organization’s core structure, inspired the creation of the Dr. Kirby Hsu Fund, and a talented visual artist. We want to thank all of Kirby’s family, friends and allies who came to the event. We would also like to thank author Wayson Choy and Cosmo K. who generously donated to the Ontario Positive Asians (OPA+) Network to support the empowerment of Asians living with HIV at the event! Also attached below is a speech written by Dr. Alan Li, ACAS co-founder, for Dr. Kirby Hsu.
It’s cold and grey, but as you can see, staff members at ACAS have been going places this month!
First, our Men’s Program Coordinator, Ryan Tran, was invited to attend the BC Gay Men’s Health Summit in Vancouver, BC on Nov 5-6 as a conference rapporteur. The theme of this year’s summit is UNDOING STIGMA, with many great presentations and community-based research on the topic including keynote presentations on structural stigma and the health of sexual minorities and impacts of stigma on Indigenous health. We would like to thank Community-based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health (CBRC) and the CATIE Learning Institute for inviting ACAS to be at this year’s BC Gay Men’s Health Summit! Shown here with Ram from ASAAP and Ryan from ACT.
Second, Noulmook Sutdhibhasilp, ACAS Executive Director, attended the ICAD HIV and Newcomer, Migrant and Refugee Health Stakeholder Meeting on November 4 and the 22nd Canadian Conference on Global Health in Montreal, Nov 5-7, 2015 In the picture, Noulmook and Ran van der Wal from University of Montreal who presented “Use and acceptability of mHealth tools in Myanmar: perceptions of auxilliary midwives. Similar to ACAS mobile phone outreach to gay men project, mobile phones have been used in primary healthcare setting in many countries in the South. ACAS would like to thank ICAD for providing Noulmook a travel scholarship to attend the conference.
Lastly, our Community Engagement and Ontario Positive Asians (OPA+) Coordinator, Christian Hui, have visited Taiwan for a speaking engagement tour in mid November! On this trip, Christian has presented to social workers and AIDS service organization workers at Taiwan Lourdes Association (TLA) on the Empowerment of People living with HIV. He was also one of the keynote speakers to talk about HIV stigma at the inaugural Poz Action Conference organized by the Positive Alliance in Taiwan. Christian also spoke about HIV Stigma at Fo Guang University to a group of undergraduate students; on Harm Reduction and HIV stigma the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association; and was interviewed by TLA’s online radio show on HIV, “Pourquoi?”. I look forward to the opportunity to exchange practice knowledge with service providers and social workers working with people living with HIV in Taiwan!
Trans Day of Remembrance
Nov 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance, and ACAS/QAY honoured the day by hosting the QAY Talent Showcase + Movie Nite fundraiser to help support QAY and other ACAS programs/projects that support trans Asians.
As you know, the core funding for the ACAS Queer Asian Youth (QAY) Program ended after 15 years of serving LGBTQ Asian youth earlier this year. ACAS and QAY have created a #SAVEQAY campaign to ensure we can keep providing the much-needed services and programming to our Queer Asian Youth members.
The QAY Talent Showcase + Movie Nite fundraiser honours, remembers, and celebrates trans identities together as a community. We would like to especially thank Kanto, email@example.com, Dr. Robert Diaz / OCAD University, and the Toronto Popcorn Company along with all the performers, donors, volunteers, allies and staff who came to support the event!
Girls Having Fun!
The ACAS Women’s Program also had its Peer Educator Training session on Sunday, November 22, 2015. Peers are an important part of ACAS and the ACAS Women’s Program. The training raises the participants’ sexual health knowledge on STI/HIV as related to women, ways to have healthy relationships, and gaining hands-on tips and skills to talk about sex & pleasure more openly and comfortably. Participant were also trained in outreach skills and performing safer sex demonstrations. We would like to sincerely welcome our new group of peers at the ACAS Women’s Program!
Back by popular demand, ACAS Women’s Program had its second Improv 2 Social Event on Tuesday November 10, 2015 from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM. Who knew we had so many talented actresses, starlets, performers and comedians at ACAS?
JCSA, JAVA, ACAS, and JSS held a special workshop aimed at Japanese-speaking women who may be new to Canada on Sunday, November 29th at University of Toronto’s Bahen Centre for Information Technology. The workshop helps de-mystify the Canadian dating culture to participants, alert them of things they should be careful of, an opportunity to learn slangs for love/dating, and ways to practice safer sex—all over a cup of Japanese green tea!
Don’t Forget About Those Boy-Buns!
How can we forget SLAM-ming those boy-buns? The ACAS Men’s Program, SLAM!, had its monthly HumpDay event to put an end to November. This month, the boys had fun ways to get to know and share experiences with one another. All attendees agreed HumpDay is definitely a great way to meet new friends or get to know current friends better!
Congrats MSMRD Pilot Group!
We would like to thank the participants of the MSM Resiliency Dialogues Intervention Study for their time, commitment to the pilot testing and their feedback and insights at improving the project when it is ready to launch officially next year! Thank you Dr. Alan Li and our very own Richard Utama for working so tirelessly for the project!
ACAS would like to congratulate Dr. Josephine Wong, long time ACAS volunteer and Associate Professor at Ryerson University, who received the 2015 Ontario AIDS Network Community Partners’ Award for her research and programmatic work with CAAT, ACAS, and many other ethno-cultural AIDS service organizations that strengthen HIV+ people’s capacity! Congratulations, Josephine!
The Holiday is fast approaching! Make sure you check the ACAS webpage and/or facebook page for the upcoming holiday party events! We hope to see you and celebrate this festive season with you