It’s in my DNA… I tend to call things the way I see them.
At the same time, I am very careful to share my assessments honestly, guided by matters-of-fact, even when the facts are not popular, and always knowing that people can and will see things differently than I do. I welcome these realities with respect and with readiness to discuss what really matters. In my humble opinion, the richness of any discussion is realized when it is shaped by differing points-of-view.
The article I wrote for PositiveLite.com, “Let’s make IT happen” (published on October 17th), did what I hoped it would do: it generated a discussion made richer by its diverse perspective. I was criticized by folks who don’t agree with my proposition that we, people living with HIV, need to do some soul-searching as it relates to our individual and collective roles and responsibilities in protecting and promoting our greater involvement and meaningful engagement in the Canadian ‘response’ to HIV (and HIV co-infections). I was congratulated for acknowledging, as a person living with HIV and as the current Executive Director of the Canadian Positive People Network (CPPN), that the landscape has shifted (for better or for worse), and for suggesting that we, together, must embrace, with enthusiastic willingness the need to actively shape and engage in a transformative person-centred ‘agenda’.
While digesting the comments and the critiques sent my way over the last few days, I’ve read and re-read my article numerous times, in part to confirm my own confidence in its intended key messages. Where do I land? Well… I called it as I see it. At the same time, I realize that my introduction was and/or could be inadvertently misleading or, at least for some, lacking important context. I want to clear that up; I need to own how my opening statements in that article contributed to a misunderstanding of the facts.
In my October 17th article, I inadvertently left an impression that the CPPN was unsuccessful following the review of Community Action Fund Letters of Intent and, therefore, the CPPN did not appear on the list of successful applicants that PHAC published on its website in October 2016. In fact, the CPPN was not on that list because we submitted a proposal in partnership with another national organization, the name of which did appear. Following the Letter of Intent process, and discussions between both organizations and PHAC, a mutual agreement was reached confirming that the CPPN would be eligible to proceed with its own funding submission based on the Community Action Fund’s eligibility criteria. At that point, the CPPN’s efforts and focus turned to the development of an independent proposal that would meet the requirements of the Community Action Fund. My October 17th article didn’t include this detail… it should have.