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By Khafre Abif

March 5, 2012

kanjamau chuta ne,
ba hanyar rayuwa ba.
kanjamau zai iya hanaka farin ciki,
kar ka bashi dama.
kanjamau zai iya dagula karkata rayuwar ka,
kar ka bauta mi shi.
mutane zasu guje ka,kar ka damu
za ka hadu da manyan mutane.
kanjamau zai so ya sachi farin cikin ka,
ka kula da shi.
zama daukake zai saka kayi tunani daukakke
kayi murmu kuma,
maraba dazuwa daukake duniya...

HIV/AIDS is just a disease,
Not a life style.
HIV/AIDS can deprive you of your joy,
Don't allow it.
HIV/AIDS might make you lose focus in life, never bow to it.
People might run away from you,
Never mind, you meet greater people.
HIV/AIDS can steal your joy,
Always protect it.
Being positive makes you think positive,
act positive,
Develop positive thought,
And smile again,
Welcome to a world of positive beginning.

-- Emmanuel Isaac/Nigeria

In a previous blog, "Sowing Seeds for the Movement," I shared that throughout 2010 I had been working on several other projects and how I am excited regarding the completion of an anthology entitled, Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems, & Affirmations for People Living with HIV/AIDS. The work over the last eighteen months has brought my spirit great rewards as the submissions have touched my soul, provoked internal dialog, made me cry, filled me with hope and connected me to an international community of compassionate contributors who have shared their work to empower our world.

Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmation for People Living with HIV/AIDS has received submissions from Africa, America, Europe and South America. Contributors have provided their work in their indigenous language with an English translation. I want to share this anthology with the international community who created it.

As you are reading this it is quite possible that you know someone living with HIV/AIDS. If you do then they have shared their status with you. Let us consider all of those who still haven't disclosed to their mother, father, sister/brother or even their faith community. What place do they go to as a source of support and inspiration?


Despite decades of education and public awareness campaigns, HIV/AIDS still carries a social stigma -- no more so than in black America, where the epidemic has struck at full force. Stigma is a degrading and debasing attitude of the society that discredits a person or a group because of an attribute (such as an illness, deformity, color, nationality, religion etc.) The resulting coping behavior of the affected person results in internalized stigma. The perceived or internalized stigma by the discredited person is equality destructive whether or not actual discrimination occurs. Stigma destroys a person's dignity, marginalizes affected individuals, violates basic human rights, markedly diminishes the chances of a stigmatized person of achieving full potential, and seriously hampers pursuit of happiness and contentment. Black same-gender-loving men have the highest infection rates in the nation, the result of a potent combination of shame and sexual practice. Black women's rates of infection continue to rise as the shame and secrecy create a cycle that impacts the larger community.

For someone newly diagnosed with HIV it can take some time for them to overcome the stigma that came with the diagnosis. Some are fortunate to have the help of family and friends who will provide support and help them to realize they have to live and face each day with a new found strength. When someone is diagnosed with HIV there are many places they can go in Spirit. The quilt of words collected in this anthology is designed to push back with the strength of an affirming spirits and self-expression to help overcome the barriers we faced when we are diagnosed with HIV. This contribution to AIDS literary body will stand as one example of the power of words to love, lift and affirmation the lives of persons living with HIV.

Poets featured in the forthcoming anthology include: Nikki Grimes, Serena T. Wills, Reginald T. Jackson, Sharaledon D. Brave, r. witherspoon, Samiya Bashir, Storme Webber, Carl Hancock Rux, Tim'm T. West, Mose Xavier Hardin, Jr., Victor R. Pond, Cathleen Richardson Bailey, Minister Sandy Rogers, Catherine Zickgraf, Temujin Ekunfeo, Maria HIV Mejia, Sandy Rodgers, W. Travis Wright, Vanessa German, G. Smith and avery r. young and more.

I, Too, Know What I Am Not

No, I am not
No, I am not waiting for death to arrive,
No, I am not
No, I am not living my life in silence,
No, I am not
No, I am not going to let nobody tell me my life has no value,
No, I am not
No, I am not going to let my life be marginalized
No, I am not
No, I am not going to let the noise of stigma and shame shape me,
No, I am not
No, I am not going to let this society cast me aside
No, I am not
No, I am not going to let fear quiet my story,
No, I am not
No, I am not going to let isolation over shadow me,
No, I am not
No, I am not going to let ignorance speak for me,
No, I am not
No, I am not going to let anyone name me,
No, I am not
No, I am not anything that is anything that I am not,
No, I am not

-- Khafre K. Abif

Please take some of your time to visit and explore this campaign which is posted on IndieGoGo. Then share the campaign with your family, friends and your social network. All the tools are there. Make a contribution, receive great perks, or simply follow updates as the campaign comes to a close. If enough of us get behind Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmations, we can make it happen.

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