About

Our memorial remembers all people who have died as a result of the War on Drugs. The names memorialized on the monument are people from East Toronto who have died as a result of the criminalization of drugs in our city.

Background:

The COUNTERfit Memorial for People Who Use Drugs was conceived in response to a community’s desire to formally remember and pay tribute to the many individuals lost since the inception of COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program in 1998. The purpose of the project is to create a memorial sculpture that celebrates the beauty and meaning that deceased friends have brought to our lives and the communities of East Toronto. The Memorial Project also aims to make visible the devastating impacts of the War on Drugs by creating a public space for mourning and resistance in a rapidly gentrifying city, where drug users and people living in poverty are increasingly criminalized and marginalized.

We want to acknowledge the high number of drug user deaths due to the Drug War. Drug users continue to be stigmatized, criminalized and marginalized on a daily basis in our city. These effects are heightened for drug users living in poverty, sex workers, those infected with HIV and/or Hepatitis C, people struggling with mental health challenges and/or those from racialized communities. Currently, there is no permanent memorial to acknowledge the deaths of drug users. The Memorial Project is creating a permanent outdoor sculpture in copper to remember and celebrate the lives of drug users who have died.

Objectives:

• To recognize and remember people who have died as a result of the War on Drugs and to celebrate their contributions to our lives and communities.

•To draw public and media attention to the issue of the War on Drugs in Toronto and around the world.

• To support public education, advocacy and movement building to end the War on Drugs.

•To help families and friends find healing and space for remembering loved ones who have died.

•To make visible the devastating impacts of the War on Drugs on our families and friends, and to increase dialogue about community alternatives to this oppressive and death-producing regime.

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