K6 COVID-19 Information Centre
COVID-19 presents unique challenges to our community. Our COVID-19 Information Centre will keep you updated on how we are responding to those challenges, as well as provide public health information for people who use drugs.
K6 & HAMSMaRT Weekly Newsletter no. 25
September 17, 2020
Dear HAMSMaRT and Keeping Six Supporters,
Hello! We hope all of you are having a good week. A brief update this week! Read the bolded sentences below to get the main points.
The September volunteer sign up schedule is live! October volunteer sign up comes out next week. Sign up to go on outreach, bake, or decorate paper lunch bags. If you are a registered volunteer, you should have already received the sign up link – shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you haven’t received it. If you are not already registered as a volunteer and want to join the volunteer crew for September, sign up here https://keepingsix.org/volunteer. We are thrilled that our outreach coordinator, Marcie, is staying on until the end of December to continue running outreach. Huge thanks to Vince for his contributions the last few months.Congratulations to the winners of the Keeping Six art & writing contest! For the art contest, 1st prize goes to Rachel Craig, 2nd prize to James Mast, 3rd prize to Alexis Davis, and honourable mention to Noel Lalicon. In the writing contest, 1st prize goes to Penny O’Radical for her submission Dead Friends Chapter 1, 2nd prize to Jeff Kil for Empty Vessel, 3rd prize to Benjamn Schutt for Ant Watching: A Short Horror Story, and honourable mention to Q Lawrence for the moon only shines for the dying and sickly. You can view their winning submissions in the forthcoming September zine issue, which will be posted here.On the encampments front, our legal team met with encampment residents on Tuesday to hear more about their concerns. And again, there was lots of discussion about the issue in council. You can view the General Issues Council meeting recording here. We were glad to see Councillor Clark bring up the possibility of mediation. Lisa Nussey from Keeping Six also responded to the discussion on the Bill Kelly show, which you can listen to here. The most important point – Do we take issue with the visibility of the problem? Or do we take issue with the problem itself? I.e. do we focus on the appearance of encampments, or do we actually try to address homelessness and its root causes? And we will keep repeating this – we do not think people should be forced to stay in tents. We simply think that we should be working tirelessly to house people in housing that meets their needs, and in the meantime we should not be moving encampments and displacing people.As the weather gets colder we are struggling to keep up with requests for make shift shelter from those who have nowhere else to go. We are renewing our efforts to gather donations of tents, tarps, sleeping blankets for people sleeping rough. To donate please reach out to us at email@example.com. We know that many of you have already donated, so we encourage you to share the campaign with 5 friends, family members or colleagues who don’t follow our work.HAMSMaRT is pleased to sign on to the Migrant Rights Network Status For All campaign. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected immigrants; for example a recent study found that immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers account for 44% of all COVID-19 cases in Ontario. Earlier in the pandemic, we were exploring how we could support COVID-19 testing for migrant workers on farms. This never got off the ground, in part because the legal status of migrant workers made it impossible to ensure those testing positive would not experience substantial harm in the form of lost wages, deportation, and substandard housing for isolation. From the Status For All campaign: “Migrant workers on farms, in greenhouses and meat and food processing plants have been hit with massive COVID-19 outbreaks. Three migrant farm workers have already died: Juan López Chaparro, Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santos…Lack of permanent resident status makes it difficult, and often impossible, for migrants to speak up for their rights or access services, including those they may be eligible for, because of a well-founded fear of reprisals, termination, eviction and deportation…We are all essential. We all deserve full immigration status. Recovery from COVID-19 calls for a rethinking of the ways in which our communities and our economy is organized…Full Immigration Status for All is just, fair, necessary and urgent. The time is now.” To get involved, you can:
- Sign the letter yourself!
- Post on social media using #StatusforAll, tagging PM Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh encouraging individuals and groups to sign on to the letter and campaign
- Email your organizational list-servs encouraging your members to sign the letter and explaining why you did.
- Reach out to federal politicians telling them why you support Status for All.
- Write statements and op-eds explaining your support and insisting that a fair society is one with equal rights and that requires status for all.
- Participate in the day of action on Sunday, September 20th. There is a Status for All Walk in Hamilton being organized by Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network and Migrant Workers Alliance for Change this Sunday at 2 pm! Find out about actions across Canada here: https://migrantrights.ca/sep20/
We continue to amplify and support the work of the Six Nations land defenders, who have been subject to increased arrests this week at 1492 Landback Lane. Many of us belong to institutions which have adopted the practice of land acknowledgements. This article in the Conversation asks what can a land acknowledgement really mean while theft of Indigenous land continues? There has been an uptick in OPP arrests of land defenders, their supporters, and, particularly concerning, of journalists in recent weeks.
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE THIS WEEK:
PARTICIPATE IN THE #STATUSFORALL CAMPAIGN from the Migrant Rights Network – details above! DONATE TO FUND REPAIRS TO KANYENKEHAKA KANONHSES via GoFundMe – they are $6090 away from their goal
DONATE TO THE SIX NATIONS LAND DEFENDERS via e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
ASK THE INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS you are affiliated with what they are doing to move beyond land acknowledgements and support the Six Nations land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane
VOLUNTEER to decorate brown paper bags for outreach lunches, bake sweet treats, or go on outreach, by signing up here.
DONATE CASH (or ask people in your network to donate) here.
DONATE LIKE-NEW/EXCELLENT CONDITION TENTS, SLEEPING BAGS, FLEECE BLANKETS, OR TARPS by emailing us email@example.com.
Ticketing the Pandemic
COVID-19-Related Resources for People Who Use Drugs
We are now grappling with two concurrent crises: the opioid overdose crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic. To support each other as we navigate these uncharted waters, we have prepared a handout that addresses the risks of responding to an opioid overdose during the pandemic, and provides guidance on how to respond to one in a way that protects you and the people you care about.
For those of us who use, during this time of heightened precautions, please consider the tips below, adapted from the Harm Reduction Coalition’s guide to safer drug use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minimize the need to share your supplies
- Don’t share e-cigs/cigarettes, pipes, bongs or joints, or nasal tubes such as straws. If you have to share, practice harm reduction with your supplies (wipe down the mouthpieces with an alcohol swab before sharing or use separate mouthpieces). Put used smoking, snorting, and injecting equipment in a sharps container so people know they are used.
- If you are having sex or doing sex work, COVID-19 can be transmitted by close contact like coughing, kissing, or direct contact with bodily fluids. Try to minimize close contact and ensure condom use.
Prepare your drugs yourself
- Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water and prepare your own drugs. Keep your surfaces clean and wipe them down before and after use, with microbial wipes, alcohol (at least 70%), or bleach. If you can’t prepare your own drugs, stay with the person who is. Get them to wash their hands thoroughly, and to clean up before and after.
Plan and prepare for overdose
- Emergency services might be stretched in a COVID-19 outbreak, and slow to respond to 911 calls. Load up on naloxone. If you are alone, experiment with using less to lower your risk of OD, and go slowly. If you are using with others, make an OD plan with them and stagger use if possible. Store a breathing mask for use in case rescue breathing is needed.