MAX Ottawa, in partnership with KindSpace, Planned Parenthood Ottawa and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, is pleased to announce its participation in OUTtawa: A SafetyLabs Project.
“Safety Labs” are spaces that are provided for communities to practice the core skills necessary for responding to systemic harm. These strategies were originally developed by Community United Against Violence (CUAV), a San Francisco organization dedicated to building the power of queer communities to transform violence and oppression, supporting the healing and leadership of those impacted by abuse, and mobilizing communities to replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation.
Led by KindSpace, the OUTtawa project aims to address the replication of systemic inequities often present in queer organizations and queer service providers in Ottawa. The project will provide facilitated space in which participating organizations can explore areas for improvement in their service delivery and demonstrate actionable commitment to improving relationships with the diverse communities they serve.
Over the course of the project, we will engage in workshops on how to create healthy work environments that provide equitable supports for all staff; and on how to support survivors of harm. The project will provide participating organizations with resources to help them continue to build a more inclusive approach to community health and wellness. The expected result over time is an improvement of our work and interactions with the multiply marginalized members of the communities we serve.
When it was created as the Ottawa Gay Men’s Wellness Initiative in 2002, MAX was designed to support a specific demographic of community members in gaining better access to queer-competent care and community services. Over the years, building on those foundations, MAX grew into the organization we know today. Much has been accomplished over the years. Program offerings have expanded through community engagement and recommendations, and now reach a more diverse group of people. We are getting ever closer to our goal of building a reliable, credible, and trusted service hub to help connect guys into guys and improve their health and well-being.
Despite this progress, there is still much left to do to develop programs, offer supports, and engage in interventions that align with our mission to “champion improved health outcomes for all guys into guys in the Ottawa area.” We see our participation in the OUTtawa project as an opportunity to invest in the future mental, sexual, emotional, and physical health and wellbeing of our diverse communities through an intersectional lens. Our hope is that by participating in this transformational justice project, we will gain valuable insight that will inform our strategic direction as we strive to address gaps, and better meet the diverse needs of the guys into guys we serve.
We’re eager to learn and to grow through this process and to truly live up to our vision of a community of people who have the resources to take care of themselves and can access safe networks to care for each other. We hope that you will continue to support us along this journey.
Questions? Comments? Don’t hesitate to reach out:
Chair, Board of Directors