I started this work because I believed that community can rise to the occasion when asked to do so. When I moved to Vancouver, I saw that it was true - there are people here doing amazing things, people that don't normally get credit for very much at all are savings lives every single day.
These days I wake up with an ache in my stomach - we need to move faster, we need to do everything we can, and we need to do it fairly and respectfully and with care.
MARIO CIMET DATTOLI
Chief technology officeR
I joined Brave in March 2018. I was drawn in by the prospect of working on tools that help us take care of each other, and doing so in a way that distributes knowledge, wealth, and power equitably among the community.
Brave is trying to build the kind of world I want to see. A world where no one has to die from an accidental overdose, a world where we heal the harm wrought by the war on drugs, a world where we meet people where they are and use the full power of our hearts and minds to help them.
My volunteer effort on the Opioid Crisis culminated at a Fraser Health Hackathon in January 2017. Over one weekend, my team of eight collaborated on the Overdose Challenge “to produce an application that aggregates information from the media, medical, law enforcement and public sources to produce a database and visual map of overdoses that included both real-time alert functionality along with a historical data-mining of overdoses”.
In the absence of available local, provincial or Canadian overdose data, we won the Telus Prize for a “panic button” bystander app, MCaR Medical Call and Response, which sends alerts individuals (with app installed on cell phone or text to registered phone number) about a nearby overdose while also anonymously crowd-sourcing overdose data. I joined the Brave Technology Cooperative, shortly after meeting Gordon Casey in November of 2017.
I have spent the past thirty years of my life interacting with the by-products of the War on Drugs - the illegal drug industry offered me a way out of a bad situation at a young age. Ultimately, though, it threatened my life, put me in prison, and lead me to addiction.
Today, it continues to inveigle our most marginalized and vulnerable members of society into criminality, and risk of death. Despite the overdose pandemic, the problem is largely ignored due to widespread stigma.
I believe it is time to revolutionize our response to those of us suffering from both addiction to a toxic, unregulated drug supply, and the accompanying societal condemnation.
Born and raised in Vancouver this city has molded my passions and determined my career path. I am a builder, a maker, and artist. My creative practice is centered around people and connections. With an Industrial Design Degree from Emily Carr University of Art & Design almost completed, I find myself exactly where I want to be, designing to help bring people closer together. Growing up in a city that has been hit tremendously by the opioid crisis, we as a community have a responsibility to look out for each other, through various design explorations I hope to contribute a small part working with Brave.
I'm here because I want to stop skirting around the issue. In university classes, we talk about the opioid crisis and homelessness in Vancouver as something to be studied, debated about, and "solved" by politicians and planners. But not once were we told to actually go talk to the people affected and listen to what they have to say. That's why I joined Brave.
I'm way beyond my comfort zone and yet I feel this is exactly what I need to do. My job is to listen and learn from people, to hear their stories and build relationships. These people and communities are valuable assets to our city, not problems to be rid of, and I want to be the voice that channels that message.