1st Annual Keep Safe Retreat!

Hello everyone!

Two weekends ago our team decided to start an annual retreat, because we’ve been all working so hard on Keep Safe as well as other school and work commitments. We all met in Vancouver, because everyone except me (Vanessa) lives up there. But now that I’m a Portlander, it’s a lot easier to be present for Keep Safe activities! Thankfully, almost everyone was in town that weekend, except Tim and Conrad, who are out and about in the world doing fun stuff, but still fully connected to us and the project whilst traveling.

We didn’t really want this weekend to be about “work,” but to get a chance to get to know each other a little better and just relax. Isn’t that what summer is all about? We had a lovely picnic right down by the water; the weather was gorgeous. When I arrived, Kyle and I met with Darcie Bennett, from Pivot Legal Society, to talk about some confidentiality and liability concerns from the focus groups. She was so helpful and we will be working with them to continue to ensure the safety of those who will use the devices. The first thing I said I wanted to do when we wrapped up with Darcie was go to the DTES! It was an extremely colorful neighborhood, and I got to see some quite interesting activity– nothing I’ve seen in any U.S. city I’ve done outreach work in. I was able to see where Insite, the safe injection site, was located, WISH Drop-in Centre, PACE, and several SROs (single room occupancy) programs. I loved being able to know about this area for so long and the edgy programs there and to be able to be there and put things in context was awesome!

This weekend was truly about connecting with everyone. There’s only so much you can get from people while wired in; you really feel connected and part of something great when you all meet in person. For me, it was like meeting old friends, people I’ve known for a long time. We all expressed our gratitude to each other (over and over again!), and despite all of our very busy schedules, we are 110% committed to moving forward with gusto!

We’ve all worked so hard together, and gratefully built a solid team of volunteers. I love them like family, because they care about my family of sex workers.

“There is no limit to the amount of good a man can do, as long as he does not care who takes the credit.” Sunday-Bolorunduro Awoniyi, Nigerian Politician

In Solidarity,

The Keep Safe Team

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(Saara, Isabel, Stacey, Vaness, Kyle (and Puccini), Cai) Not pictured: Tim and Conrad

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