This past year has been one of great change at the HIV Legal Network. With a new co-Executive Director leadership model and a new Chair of the Board, we approached our work with open minds, ready to embrace fresh perspectives while respecting our strong history of commitment and success.
Our 2021/2022 year held challenges — including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed us to keep developing and diversifying our virtual outreach and continued to exacerbate the drug poisoning crisis in Canada and beyond. In addition, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had colossal implications for our partners in that region. But through it all, the Legal Network has been steadfast. We remain committed to promoting human rights for all, including people living with and affected by HIV and hepatitis C. As you will see in this annual report, we have consistently used our skills and expertise in research and analysis, litigation and other advocacy, public education, and community mobilization to advance and protect these rights.
June 5, 2021, also marked the 40th anniversary of the first diagnoses of what would later be known as AIDS in North America. This was a momentous date, which rendered us at once somber as we looked back on all we’ve lost in those 40 years and hopeful as we look ahead to what is still possible. We’ve come a long way since those early days and we’ve accomplished great things by working together. This is where the power is — in that spirit of collaboration, which has fueled the HIV Legal Network since its inception in 1992, now almost thirty years ago.
We are truly powerful together. We’re grateful that this understanding has carried us through the past year of change and we’re counting on it to sustain us for what lies ahead. Our thoughts are with our colleagues in Ukraine as the war there continues to claim lives and violate human rights. Although many of our projects in the region are on hold for the moment, we are in constant contact with our partners and continue to support them however we can as they navigate this difficult time.
Whether in Canada, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Caribbean, or Francophone Africa, the HIV Legal Network has a strong history of activism through partnership, striving to centre the voices of people with lived experience. We are committed to continuing that tradition as we look ahead to the years to come. We thank our members, colleagues, donors, and friends for their ongoing support and for making us Powerful Together.
Janet Butler-McPhee and Sandra Ka Hon Chu
Chair of the Board