In May 2014, a diverse group of Manitobans came together to talk about the relationship between stigma and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and their shared passion to end it. They began to create a vision for a province where people with FASD and women who have used alcohol during pregnancy are fully accepted and their dignity is protected. This group included parents of children with FASD, women who used alcohol during pregnancy, community members from across Manitoba; including several First Nations communities, government representatives and service providers working with people who have FASD and their families. The participants unanimously committed to joining together to participate in a long-term project to address the problem of stigma and FASD and to positively promote the dignity of those impacted by FASD in Manitoba. Membership is open to all Manitobans who have an interest in FASD and a commitment to promoting the dignity of those impacted by FASD. On September 21, 2014 an Indigenous naming ceremony was held and the project received its name: Looking After Each Other.
Purpose, Guiding Principles & Process
In order to guide the work of the project a statement of purpose and guiding principles were developed. The work of the project is divided into three subcommittees. Each subcommittee follows the purpose and guiding principles as they pursue a variety of activities to promote dignity, including creating mini-documentaries, applying for research grants and developing a guide that highlights dignity promoting language.
The three subcommittees are:
Creating a positive common language to speak about FASD
Participating in research to develop a shared understanding of what it means to promote dignity in relation to FASD
Launching a number of popular education initiatives using these common understandings of language and dignity
Mini Documentaries The Looking After Each Other project is developing a series of mini documentaries to showcase how communities, services, systems, and other initiatives can creatively support the success of those impacted by FASD and the women who have used alcohol during pregnancy.
An FASD Language Guide The language guide suggests dignity-promoting alternatives to common stigma-inducing words used to discuss people with FASD, women who use alcohol during pregnancy and FASD more broadly.