On Thursday 15th October 2020 we ran our 14th CHIVA Annual Conference, virtually. Full details of this event are available by visiting the conference page.
CHIVA FAMILY CONFERENCE
Very sadly due to COVID-19 we were unable to have a families conference as planned, in 2020, and we are not sure when we will be able to run this event due to the ongoing pandemic. We will release information about this event here as soon as we are able to.
From 3-7th August 2020 we ran our annual support camp, this time due to the ongoing pandemic we ran this as a virtual event. You can find out all about the event on this page, and also watch videos created exclusively for camp.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Please read our post below which discusses our response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
We stand in solidarity with all who are striving to ensure that the urgent call from the Black Lives Matter movement to address racism, is responded to with clear and concise action from us all.
Whilst expressions of solidarity are important and silence is not an option, it is actions that are needed to affect change. Calling out racism is hugely important right now -and it always has been - but it is the undertaking of anti-racist work which is critical for change to happen.
CHIVA is fundamentally committed to rights and equality and this ethos is at the heart of all of our work.
Our first response has been to provide support to the young people we work with and acknowledge the impact that this movement may be having on their emotional wellbeing.
In particular the emotional pain experienced from seeing the death of George Floyd and further accounts of the deaths of black people and experiences of brutality.
We have provided virtual support spaces for young people to share their feelings, with support from staff and providing connections with their peers. This has been particularly important during a time where the usual sources of social support have not been available for many young people. From these spaces, personal stories of racism began to be told.
For some it was sharing how difficult it can be to be one of very few black people living in a particular area; how people around them may have a very limited understanding of racism and different ethnicities. Young people endure comments about hair and appearance etc, or are asked to 'explain racism' to their friends when people question whether racism is 'still a problem here'. It can be emotionally exhausting for young black people to feel responsible for correcting misinformation and pulling up people who make racist comments.
Others described being targeted for police searches and feeling they have to be twice as good as their white peers to achieve their aspirations because of the structural barriers of racism.
The idea of offering a Black Lives Matter virtual protest space came about through these conversations with young people, and wanting to offer an alternative opportunity as many had chosen not to join protests because of health concerns around COVID-19.
Young people were invited to attend the virtual protest and three young adults lead the event. Music was played, young people shared their own poems and art work with impromptu sharing of thoughts, feelings and experiences. A two-minute silence was held for reflection and a viewing of photographs from Black Lives Matter protests, taken by one of the participants.
Our hope for this meeting was that young people would have the opportunity to come together and be heard in a space held for them and from this we could begin to shape some clear 'Calls to Action' to address ongoing racism.
Here are our calls to action to address racism:
1. Racism in Schools must be addressed
Schools play a hugely important role in young people's lives and racism can manifest in schools in implicit and explicit forms. From poor cultural competency and unconscious bias among staff to racist abuse experienced by students. Schools need to effectively address racism and black students need to feel understood, represented and supported. There needs to be clear and effective channels for students to raise concerns about racism. Most importantly, schools need to be institutional leaders in anti-racist action.
2. Schools must diversify and expand the teaching of Black History
A full representation of historical events, contributions and perspectives from black people needs to be included in the curriculum. Historical information involving black people must not be experienced as an 'add on' but integral to the teaching of a broad range of historical events. For all students it is hugely important that key black historical figures are fully acknowledged in the curriculum for their roles in the development of societies around the world, and the UK.
3. We need to talk about racism
Conversations about racism and its impacts do not end after protests.
Everyone needs to recognise the part they need to play in the solutions. Whenever racism occurs it needs to be called out and it should not be left for black people to address. It needs to be seen everywhere and acknowledged by everyone that racism is not tolerated.
To take these actions forward, we now plan to engage with key policy stakeholders and campaigners.
We will continue to hold conversations with young people and support leadership opportunities in order for them to continue their campaigning and awareness raising work.
Key to anti-racist work is self-reflection. At CHIVA we will continue the conversations about racism with young people, our staff team and wider governance structures.
We want to understand more about structural inequalities and systemic racism and how we can do more to address this.
In June 2020 we launched the BSL & subtitled version of our film Life Growing Up. We're very pleased to provide this inclusive version for the deaf community, to enable access to the information, stories & experiences of young people living with HIV.
We are very proud that Life Growing Up was awarded winner in the Longform Under £5million Turnover Category at the Charity Film Awards in April 2020.
The Charity Film Awards celebrates the effective use of video by the third sector to change mindsets, raise awareness for the charity or fundraise.
400 charities entered the awards, more than 110,000 members of the public voted, and 127 charities made the shortlist in the world's biggest cause-based film event. Finalists were then voted on by both the public and the judges panel. For more information, visit: www.CharityFilmAwards.com.
THE MISSING LINK: HIV and Mental Health Report- commissioned and published by the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS was launched on 4th March 2020.