Meet Becki Linder
In this video, Becki shares her connection to and entry into harm reduction work, and speaks to the difficulty PWUD experience navigating systems.
My name is Becki Linder. I work at HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health, which is located in Guelph. And I’m the Harm Reduction and Outreach Coordinator there, and we serve Guelph and Wellington County.
One of my favourite parts about my job is that it’s responsive. It needs to be responsive. And it’s reactionary. And so, you know, for me, what that looks like is no two days are ever the same. And you know, I’m never, well not often, you know, stuck to a desk doing the same thing every day, and so, you know, for us being able to be responsive in our community really meets the needs of, not just the people that we work with, but also members of the public.
I started out in this work seven years ago as a peer worker, you know, I’ve experienced homelessness, I’ve experienced drug use, and addiction and mental health issues are, you know, big themes in my family. So this isn’t just work for me; this is my life, this is my community.
So many of the people in this work, you know, have that activist heart, and you know, I know I’m not alone in the fact that this is my community first. And I think there’s often this power struggle of you know professionalism and like being, you know, playing to the politics of what’s happening in greater society.
There’s a huge part of our community that doesn’t believe that people who use drugs deserve safety, or to be alive, or to participate in, you know, in the rest of society. And that… that’s really messed up.
You know, the solution to isolation is connection, and when people are struggling with addiction and drug use, they’re isolated. And if we can provide some of that connection, then we might be able to help some people.
And when, you know, if they are ready to make a change with their drug use, or access services, or get health care, or, you know, participate in a system that has really been, terrible and awful to them… You know, we need to be able to be ready to receive that. And, I think that the general public doesn’t really see that relationship building and that connection as an important piece, but that’s a huge part of what I do, you know? I treat people who use drugs like people. I’m, you know? Don’t be an asshole.