July 13, 2012
On May 24, 2012, Women With A Vision (WWAV), a member of our AIDS United and Southern REACH family, fell victim to arson. While the crime is still under investigation, the women who embody and those who look for comfort in and through WWAV, are doing their best to move on through the smoke. The surrounding community, clients, and peer advocates, as well as national and international partners and supporters have answered their cry for help. Assistance has varied from heartfelt $1.00 to thousands, such as $5,000 donation from AIDS United, and from the provision of temporary office space within a local church to the potential for donated property. Although they have come a long way from where they were in the immediate aftermath of the fire, with the slow to start resumption of services, much healing has yet to manifest.
As a woman and fellow New Orleanian, it is disheartening to know that some individuals will go to such lengths to disrupt progress and further marginalize woman of color. I wish I could say that injustices such as this were rare in the South and specifically New Orleans. However, the marginalized and disenfranchised populations, such as the women serves by WWAV who are facing challenges such as addiction, domestic violence, and most notably all ills resulting from poverty, are all too often victimized. This crime could be perceived as a catalyst for a bleak and hopeless situation -- from my viewpoint it is an opportunity for change. Crisis calls attention to serious matters and this fire will be fuel for heightened advocacy, which holds the potential for far reaching, long standing systems changes. Let us continue to stand with WWAV and most importantly the women encouraged by and dependent upon their powerful advocacy and nurturing assistance.
Stay updated with the work of WWAV by clicking the links below:
"My First Day" by Shaun King
"For All that We Have Won, For the Future We Will Make" by Rebecca Gibson
Maya Wyche is the program manager for Southern REACH.