Individual – Family – Community – Nation
We want to share a Vision of LoVe for our Aboriginal brothers and sisters in Ontario and beyond: a Vision 4 LoVe of ourselves as individuals; 4 LoVe of our families – biological, familial and chosen; 4 LoVe of our communities; and 4 LoVe of our Nations.
To LoVe oneself is to have the courage know our own health and body: to know our HIV status and be honest with ourselves first about it. To extend LoVe within our families is to share wisdom/knowledge that is important and to listen with compassion to each other’s need, and to accept and help each other every day. To bring LoVe to our communities happens through respect and truth sharing and acceptance for every member. And to open LoVe to our nations is to recognize that we are all part of something greater.
We also want to share that this was a Vision inspired by our late Executive Director, LaVerne Monette, who passed into the spirit world on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2010. Known to many as “LV”, she made great strides in improving the lives of Aboriginal people living with HIV and AIDS in Ontario, as well as creating resources and putting people in places to share the knowledge to help prevent the spread of HIV among Aboriginal people in Ontario. Her work in the HIV field started out as voluntary, but eventually she created an agency out of the need that was obvious and present in Ontario among Aboriginal people.
LaVerne was a co-founder and board member of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network and 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations; she was on the Board of Directors for the Prisoners with AIDS Support Action Network; as well as a Board Member for the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. For a time she was a member of the National Aboriginal Council on HIV/AIDS, the Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Provincial Advisory Committee to the Ontario HIV and Substance Use Training Program, and the Social Research Centre for HIV Prevention. And she led in the creation of Oahas (the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy) – an agency with 15 provincial workers in 8 offices throughout the province: Thunder Bay, Cochrane, Sudbury, Ottawa, Kingston, London, Chatham and Toronto.
All of her professional work was entirely focused on improving the lives of Aboriginal people. She was uncompromising and will forever be a role model for Aboriginal women and men, two-spirited and straight, to always stand up for what you believe in, including LoVe in all of its forms.
We dedicate the 4 LoVe campaign to Aboriginal people in Ontario and to honour the many years that LaVerne inspired all of us in our lives and in this work.
Chi miigwech/Nia:wen LaVerne
The Staff and Board of Oahas