Hello, it's been a minute since I wrote a blog. I am reminded of Long-Term Survivor Day as it approaches. I was diagnosed in 1997. I suspected until yesterday I was given this condition through a sex partner as a teenager. My first boyfriend died of AIDS-related complications in 1994. He received several blood transfusions as a kid.
I really didn't understand what a dysfunctional family was until I was around 10 or 11 years of age when my grandmother passed. She and my aunt were my very best friends. I noticed I started to shut down emotionally. I started putting up walls to keep me safe from any more pain. At the sweet age of 13, I had a teenage crushes on my childhood best friend (Tammy) and a favorite older cousin who was a professional football player for the New York Giants and was 15 years my elder. Yes, I knew I was in heaven here on earth and in love for the very first time. Every time the Cowboys played the Giants, we were on the 50 yard line watching the games. We cheered our little hearts out for the Giants to win the game. He would always send us gifts if they won.
This Monday, July 10, four PWN-USA members as well as a number of allies joined over 100 other constituents from 21 states in descending on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., with a very clear, explicit message for their members of Congress: "Kill the bill, don't kill us!"
In recent days, we have been working to mobilize our family, friends and everyone we know to make calls to their Senators to reject the cruel "health care" bill known in the House as the "American Health Care Act" and in the Senate as the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" -- especially folks in states with Republican Senators who have expressed reservations or concerns about the bill.
Land of Opportunity for the Rich
Risk of Opportunistic Infections
for the poor, living with HIV
Colorado Advocacy Day was a huge success on April 21.
We had 25 people participate in our two day training early in April, some who traveled more than 400 miles to join us.
The most memorable moment I had at AIDSWatch was standing on stage with all of my PWN sisters and chanting, "All women, all rights!" This powerful moment was one that will resonate in my activism for years to come. I am inspired by PWN's commitment to inclusion and it's great show of love one toward another. I love you all so much!
I am sitting here as the coordinator preparing for a meeting tomorrow for the Stigma Index Project interviewers and core members to discuss our next steps in developing strategies for eliminating stigma in our communities. It dawns on me that I am actually working to coordinate a meeting, me! -- a torn up from the floor up, ex-con, drug addicted, homeless black woman living with HIV ... who would have thought?
The energy of the tribe of my fellow HIV advocates at AIDSWatch 2017 echoed the heartbeat of those we have lost from the beginning of the epidemic. I was honored to walk to halls of the Capitol building and speak for those lives, my life with every congressperson and staffer I met. Our collective voices together are the rhythm of that heartbeat that will spark change and become a deafening war cry to our legislators if they don't listen to us.
On March 23 2017, Georgia Equality helped those who are passionate about reforming Georgia's outdated, discriminatory and unscientific HIV criminalization laws by hosting an HIV Criminalization Advocacy Training. As part of a comprehensive, community-centered approach to HIV prevention and care, this training was led by Emily Brown, Nina Martinez and Torrian Baskerville of Georgia Equality and covered: the content and history of Georgia's HIV criminalization laws; the main reasons HIV advocates want to reform these laws; key arguments against reform, how to listen to the opposition and effectively respond; and basic facts about HIV science that all decriminalization advocates need to know.
The Positive Women's Network of the United States of America (PWN-USA) is a network of HIV+ women and allies organizing and advocating for our rights -- and blogging all along the way.
If you are an HIV+ woman or support the rights of HIV+ women, join PWN-USA as a member or ally today!
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