The Future of Female Leadership in the HIV/AIDS Movement, Part 2
June 8, 2012
Kellee Terrell: Wow. Talk about disempowering. So let's talk something positive. What are some things that you have been doing with your work and with your organizations that have been making an impact? What are you all doing that excites you right now?
E. Tyler Crone: I've been really happy to continue to see this work that these women and other are doing to continue to gain traction and gained footing -- and I think it resonates again with what Marsha and Naina had said about, if we can speak with one voice. So when Naina was talking about issues of access and economic, economic privilege, and you think about how that's being reflected globally, of task shifting back onto home-based care, and the economic burden on women; there's so much we have in common.
From the ATHENA side what has been incredible to see is the vibrant community of women leaders from the grassroots, moving from the bottom up, sharing strategies, finding areas of consensus and building a shared voice. One of the pieces that we've been involved in the past year and a half has been trying to foster and create space for, and collaborate with, a cadre of young women leaders who are living with HIV. I have been watching how that community is growing fostering and supporting those young women to be able to participate in some different global forums and to connect the dots and gain U.N. contacts so that their voices can reach and gain more strength in their own community as leaders in the HIV response.
And so I think one piece of working with young women leaders and creating space for intergenerational dialogue, creating space for leadership, participation, visibility at global forums, has been a really exciting piece.
And this work is just continuing. Even though it was an uphill climb to get a woman plenary, so many different women and men from across the U.S. and the world had a shared voice in saying, "No, it's not OK. We need a woman living with HIV plenary speaker. We need women of color from the U.S. visible, front and center. We need young women visible, front and center. And we need sex workers and people who are going to champion the rights of drug users and the whole gamut."
Marsha Jones: Just being able to have a women-centric organization is exciting for me, despite the lack of funding issues. But overall, I get to help meet the needs to women in my community, without anyone having somebody standing over me, telling me that I can or cannot do it.
And in this time, I've had the opportunity to work with Campaign to End AIDS and other grassroots organizations that have really given me the opportunity to work with women around the United States -- the ones who really need us most -- and bringing them in to develop them as leaders. And it's been successful. There's not a year since we've had our annual Women's HIV/AIDS Advocacy and Leadership Summit, where a woman hasn't gone back to places like the deepest part of Mississippi and before she left said to us, "You know what? I'm going to go back to my city, or my state, and I'm going to lead." That's always really great to hear.
I have an opportunity to see organizations, or see commissions being built, like 30 for 30 Campaign. I think that that is great, because it allows for small organizations like mine to sit at the table with a whole diverse group of women who, at the end of the day, have so many of the same goals, but we are coming from different places. And so it gives me more to reach from; and it gives me more to call on.
So it's those things that I'm really excited about seeing and I'm grateful to be a part of it, and to be a part of the change, not just women living with HIV, but women, period, especially black women.
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