The mellowness of the past fall and winter perfectly balanced out a summer packed with activities, and provided an opportunity to reflect on progress. Above all, Phase 2 of weSpeak officially ended in February.
Read on for details and happenings from the past months!
More than 800 heterosexual African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) men from various walks of life participated in the weSpeak survey. This important milestone marked the end of Phase 2 in February 2019. Since launching in April 2018, team members worked hard at community-engaged data collection at various places including barber shops, businesses, community groups, and universities.
The weSpeak team also shared preliminary research findings by making more than 90 presentations at community events, academic forums, and local organizations, engaging stakeholders beyond the health and HIV/AIDS sectors.
A big THANK YOU to the participants who generously contributed their time in completing the survey. We also deeply appreciate our partner organizations, collaborators, and community members who engaged in spirited and much needed conversations on uplifting Black men’s health.
Next Steps: Knowledge Dissemination + Laying the Groundwork for Phase 3
Though Phase 2 has ended, work continues in earnest across all weSpeak sites. The weSpeak Quantitative Workgroup has met to discuss and develop a data analysis framework. We can't wait to see how the data will provide a fuller picture of Black’s men values towards gender roles, resilience, and factors that shape their HIV vulnerabilities!
Qualitative theme analysis is also ongoing across all sites. At weSpeak our commitment is to make findings available “as soon as possible” in interactive and inspiring ways. We will do more community outreach this spring and summer to share these findings.
Barbershop Conversations on Black LoveABOVE: In January 2019, weSpeak Toronto team and community partner, Black Daddies Club, co-hosted a barbershop talk event on love and dating within Black communities.
Conversations were very lively at the event and were based on weSpeak preliminary findings on masculinities, vulnerabilities, and resilience. Harbourfront Centre, HairPlay Salon, and HuffPost Canada were also supporting partners.
Andre (left) and Charles (second from left) from the weSpeak Toronto team co-facilitated at the event. A customer gets his hair cut while the barber looks on.
LEFT: Key to weSpeak’s outreach success is continual support from community partners! Here, Lisa (second left) and Francine (first left) from Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) attended Rastafest 2018 with weSpeak Toronto team members.
Black History Month
LEFT: Earlier this year, the weSpeak Windsor team was at University of Windsor’s Black History Month festivities to offer the weSpeak survey and connect with community.
Osagie (middle) at Afrofest 2019 with some attendees at University of Windsor
Annual Multicultural Fair
ABOVE: The 2nd Annual Multicultural Fair in London was themed “Building Health and Wellness with Diversity”. The Fair took place in March, hosted by Regional HIV AIDS Connection (RHAC) – a partner of weSpeak London. The weSpeak London team presented on the relationship between HIV vulnerability, Black masculinities, and the social determinants of health.
Pictures: The event featured holistic tips to sound health and well-being with healthy nutrition talks, mindfulness activities, and creative expression workshops.
Black Frosh (Ryerson University)RIGHT: weSpeak Toronto’s Charles (left) and Desmond did targeted outreach to university students at ‘Black Frosh’ last Fall.
CIHR-IGH Boys & Men’s Health Team Grant Annual MeetingABOVE: weSpeak collaborated with two other teams in Toronto to successfully co-host the 4th Annual CIHR-IGH (Canadian Institute for Health Research-Institute of Gender and Health) Boys & Men’s Health Team Grant Meeting in Toronto last October. Dr. Roberta Timothy was the inspiring keynote speaker and Mr. Doug Stewart facilitated the all-day critical dialogues.
Generously supported by the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN), all weSpeak sites and eight other teams across Canada were in attendance. The Toronto CIHR-IGH teams collaborated to advance critical dialogue and commitment among researchers to integrate intersectional analysis, health equity, meaningful community engagement, and capacity building in research.
Passing of Dr. Winston Isaac
ABOVE: Dr. Winston Isaac, weSpeak Toronto Local Advisory Committee member, passed away on February 15, 2019. Dr. Isaac made significant contributions to the health and well-being of Black communities, particularly in the area of prostate cancer and Black men’s health through The Walnut Foundation.
Dr. Isaac inspired many Black people from all walks of life. He will be missed greatly by weSpeak and many community members but his spirit lives on in his legacy.
This carved watermelon was a tribute to Dr. Isaac at the United Achievers, a Brampton-based organization he was part of.
The Walnut Foundation 2019 Annual WalkathonRIGHT: Last summer, weSpeak Toronto offered the Phase 2 survey to participants at The Walnut Foundation’s annual fundraiser walkathon. In 2018, The Foundation raised $15,500 through the walkathon to support Black men’s health and proactive health practices. This year, they aim to raise $20,000.
We look forward to continue our partnership in uplifting Black men’s health!
Out in the Community
ABOVE: The weSpeak Windsor team continued their visits to diverse networks in Black communities including: organizations, community groups, local businesses, events (like the Windsor Caribbean Roots & Rhythm Music Festival), and the Amherstburg Freedom Museum Black cultural heritage site near Windsor.
Men’s Health forum, Ajax RIGHT: weSpeak Toronto team was also at a Men’s Health forum in Ajax earlier this year in February to present results on Black masculinity, mental health, and preventive health.
Charles (left) and Desmond from weSpeak Toronto are all smiles after an interactive and lively presentation.
2018 World City 2 SymposiumRIGHT: Kimberly Robinson (left), former weSpeak Toronto Master's Fellow and current PhD student at University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, speaks with attendees at her poster presentation during the 2018 World City 2 (WC2) Symposium at Ryerson University.
Health Awareness Forum, Ottawa
ABOVE: weSpeak Ottawa team hosted a Health Awareness Forum at the University of Ottawa. Coinciding with Black History Month 2019, the forum drew from preliminary weSpeak Phase 1 findings to explore how building resilience can address HIV vulnerability amongst heterosexual Black men.
weSpeak Ottawa team members, Dr. Josephine Etowa, Dr. Paul Mkandawire, and Emmanuel Iyeteku alongside attendees at the Health Awareness Forum.
OHTN Endgame ConferenceRIGHT: At the 3rd HIV Endgame conference by the OHTN last December, weSpeak teams across 4 sites delivered 4 presentations and joined other national and international teams to present and discuss progress, barriers, and future prospects to end HIV.
RIGHT: weSpeak Principal Investigator, Josephine P. Wong, was the sole recipient of Ryerson University’s 2019 Collaborative Research Award for her stellar collaborations with community partners to facilitate impactful research. Keep the ball rolling, Josephine!
Ending the HIV epidemic in Canada: Critical perspectives by Winston Husbands
LEFT: A blog earlier this year by weSpeak Co-Principal Investigator Winston Husbands critically examined the ambitious goal of ending the HIV epidemic in Canada in 5 years. Read more here: Ending the Epidemic for Whom?
Below are events across weSpeak cities where the team and partner organizations will connect with the community. Keep an eye out for us at events, barbershops, restaurants, and community organizations in your neighbourhood and tuned for more!
African, Caribbean and Black Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Black, African and Caribbean Network (CHABAC) maintained the message: Start a Conversation. Know your Health Options. End the Stigma, for the February 7th Annual African, Caribbean and Black Canadian HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Read the factsheet here.
It Takes Courage
Find information by the AIDS Committee of Windsor on “It Takes Courage”, a community initiative to break HIV/AIDS stigma in ACB communities.