Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
At the heart of the Living in Community model is the bringing together of different groups who interact with sex work – current and former sex workers, support organizations, Indigenous groups, health organizations, businesses, governments, community organizations. As a group, we take stock of what is happening around sex work in our communities and in the broader societal context. We discuss our needs and what we can do to make communities healthier and safer. We don’t always agree, but we are committed to listening and understanding the different voices around the table. And we commit to take action where there is agreement.
We know that change doesn’t happen in isolation. We engage with diverse stakeholders within our Board of Directors, our various project partners, and beyond. We look at the kind of change that is needed, and then reach out to the right individuals, organizations, and levels of government.
Multistakeholder projects that Living in Community is currently part of include:
- BC Bad Date and Aggressor Reporting Project: a three-year project to design and build a provincially-integrated bad date and aggressor reporting tool for sex workers across BC. This project is guided by a Working Group of PACE Society, Peers Victoria, SWAN Vancouver, WISH Drop-In Centre Society, and Living in Community.
Our work with other stakeholders is sometimes about education around sex work. Other times, we engage with diverse stakeholders so we can better understand the problems and what solutions might be needed. In other instances, we engage in partnerships around a common goal.
Living in Community is a member of several multistakeholder coalitions:
Living in Community works to create platforms for better networking among diverse stakeholders. For example, we work to bring together different organizations that support sex workers, many of whom are isolated with no connections to others engaging in similar work. Our ultimate goal is to create a network of individuals, organizations and different levels of government that are committed and activiely working to destigmatize sex work, meet the unique needs of sex workers and create communities that are healthy and safe for everyone.
Networks that Living in Community facilitates and fosters include:
- SAFE in Cedar Cottage: a group of sex workers, residents, service providers, and others interested in improving services and building relationships in Vancouver's Kingsway neighbourhood.
- BC Sex Work Support Service Network: a group of sex worker-serving organizations from across all regions of BC that join for quarterly online networking meetings and trainings.
Although collaboration is hard work, we know that to get at the roots of social problems, it’s essential to bring together diverse and sometimes opposing voices to really understand the problem and find effective solutions. At the heart of our work is bridging relationships between groups who usually don’t sit at the same tables in order to create the possibility for new ways of being together, as well as for new solutions to emerge.
We also believe that the broader community has a role to play in addressing the social issues that face our cities and towns. Everyone’s voice is important in creating solutions, and everyone can be a part of that solution in creating communities that are healthier and safer for everyone.