Thirty years ago on May 11th, 1987, the Ministry of Consumer & Commercial Relations granted PWA status as an incorporated charitable organization. PWA was formed in a time of community grief, when people with HIV/AIDS were fighting for basic needs, to have a voice, and visibility in the community.
PWA was at the forefront of HIV activism and practical support, transforming the face of HIV one individual at a time.
For thirty years, as HIV has been transformed into a more manageable disease, the essence of PWA remains unchanged – to be a leader positively impacting what it means to live a meaningful life with HIV, and advocate and provide support people need. PWA was created as a fundamental space of community, affirmation, and a place of welcome for hands-on support that would allow people to reclaim their lives. PWA is many things, it’s the powerful stories, shared leadership, and the welcoming and healing community space.
Throughout this past last year, we celebrated and remembered by including 30th anniversary activities in our yearly community events: Pride, PWA’s Friends For Life Bike Rally, Annual General Meeting, World AIDS Day, and through the creation of special 30th anniversary events – the 30th Anniversary Kick-Off and 30th Anniversary Wrap-Up. PWA continued as a space of community, affirmation, and place of welcome for all.
On May 10, we concluded our year-long celebration and remembrance of our 30 year history as an organization. The Wrap-Up event was held at the Royal Ontario Museum attended by clients, volunteers, donors, community partners, staff and board – it was an evening of reflection on the many years of PWA’s service to the community and meaningful toasts to the future of the agency – see photos from the event! The evening wrapped up with the unveiling of PWA’s new 5-year strategic plan – PWA as the PHA Hub. As we look to the future to elevate our role as the PHA Hub, we take action on what we honour and understand; have heard and learned; and our connections with the community.
With thanks to the 30th Anniversary Planning Committee who tirelessly started planning a year ago with the theme “The Family of HIV” that served as a framework for each event. Led by the Director of Programs & Services, Suzanne Paddock, the team comprised of staff, clients, volunteers, and donors who planned and executed each event. Thanks to Jacyln Bristow, Dakarayi Chigugudhlo, Chantal Mukandoli, Murray Hodge, Jonathan Grimm, Trevor Ouellette, Nick Papadogiannis, Rajesh Pisharody, and Gareth Henry for the efforts and hard work on this milestone celebration.