This Sunday morning, Heart-Links held its Annual General Meeting in our new home in Innovation Works. It was great to meet and speak to friends and supporters who attended. In some cases, we had the pleasure of meeting face to face for the first time.

After our co-chair Louise Vandenbosch summarized 2016’s challenges and accomplishments, Gordon Price, who is also co-chair of the board, updated us on monies raised to help the communities we work with in Peru respond and rebuild after severe flooding earlier in the year. Then he told us about our newest partner, ACIES, and the campaign we have launched to help ACIES build a locale for their alternative education centre. Our treasurer Fraser Macdonald, who has done a great job ensuring Heart-Links remains on a stable economic footing, outlined Heart-Link’s financial position.

Then it was time for our guest speaker. Bernie Hammond, co-founder of Peace and Social Justice Studies at King’s College, spoke to us about what we mean by solidarity. Bernie used the example of Canadian mining in different parts of the world—including Peru—to illustrate how we, as Canadians, can stand alongside people who are working to protect their communities. His conclusion: solidarity = charity + working to address the root causes of poverty and injustice (including addressing the ways Canada and Canadians contribute to unjust conditions around the world).

Before the public portion of the meeting started, the board elected its members and committee chairs for the coming year. Our co-chairs are Louise Vandenbosch and Gordon Price, Fraser Macdonald is our treasurer, and board members are Tatiana Fernández, Cecilia Inguanse, Rose Makini, Sarah Pol, Shannon Theriault, and Janet Tufts. We are grateful to all our board members for contributing Their time and talents to Heart-Links. As our co-chair Louise says, “Heart-Links would not exist without the efforts of a great many people.”

We also distributed our 2016 annual report. You can read it here.

It’s been a busy year, and we looking forward to another fruitful year in 2017. Thank you for accompanying us on this journey, and for supporting our work in Peru and here at home as we raise awareness and practise solidarity with our brothers and sisters near and far.