In this video, Amanda speaks about her work in Kingston and the surrounding areas, what grounds her to the work.
So, my name is Amanda. I work at HIV/AIDS Regional Services in Kingston. Our fixed-site is located in the city of Kingston, but we service quite a large catchment area: Bancroft and Belleville to the west; all the way out to Brockville-Prescott in the east; and then north to Sharbot Lake. So we have quite a large catchment area.
The biggest challenges usually come from larger systemic issues and gaps and services within the community. The challenges certainly aren’t with the people that we’re serving. Rather gaps in services that you notice in the community oftentimes based on a lack of understanding and education around working with people who use substances and a lot of stigma that’s still very present today around people who use substances.
This work has impacted my life in the best of ways. I can’t picture doing anything else but what I’m doing. It’s been said often, but the work chose me. What brought me to working at HIV/AIDS Regional Services is that I’m a queer person, and in Kingston, this is kind of the hub of all 2SLGBTQ-plus resources. A safer space for folks to go.
So, keeping with kind of the what keeps me grounded in the work that we do is really the folks who came before me. So I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me. I’m privileged to have the job that I have. And we, as an agency, came together in a time to fight for too many people who were dying too soon during the early years of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. And once again, now with the opioid crisis and the overdose crisis. We’re seeing again too many of our people die too soon, and it’s irresponsible to not come to the front lines and fight for our people. These are our family, these are our friends, and this is our community. It’s our responsibility to fix a problem that we’ve created in the first place.