A screening of the documentary Love in the Time of Fentanyl takes place Thursday, Nov. 24 as part of Restorative Justice Week.
The screening is being hosted from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. by Abbotsford Restorative Justice and Advocacy Association (ARJAA) and UFV’s Peace and Reconciliation Centre. The location is the lecture theatre (room B101) at University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford.
The 80-minute documentary spotlights an overdose prevention organization that has operated in Vancouver since 2014 and has played a central role in front-line work related to the overdose crisis.
The staff and volunteers at the overdose prevention society look beyond the stigma of people who use fentanyl and other drugs in order to save lives and give hope to the marginalized community in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion featuring guests who appear in the film.
“The screening of the film is meant to generate discussion around the issue of homelessness and the opioid crisis,” says Kim Riddell, ARJAA executive director.
She said among the principles of restorative justice is the belief that community conflict is best approached by bringing all parties involved to the table “for facilitated dialogue that encourages understanding and works toward shared outcomes, accountability, and advocacy.”
Since 2019, ARJAA has operated a Community Restorative Practice program that assists in addressing neighbourhood tensions among residents, businesses, the street community, and non-profit and other community entities related to homelessness.
Acting as neutral conveners, ARJAA brings stakeholders together for shared dialogue and to help facilitate a better strategy for the future.
“It is our hope that the screening of Love in the Time of Fentanyl will draw the attention of citizens in Abbotsford to an issue that is front and centre in our own community, stimulating discussion and leading to actionable plans for a better future for everyone,” Riddell said.
Each November since 1996, Canada sets aside a week to explore how the principles of restorative justice can be reflected on and applied to different situations in communities.
This year, the week runs from Nov. 20 to 26. Visit arjaa.org for more information about the local organization.