AIDS Olympics? Really? An Interview With Its Creator
By Candace Y.A. Montague
March 13, 2011
The AIDS Olympics will premiere in D.C. on Friday, March 18th and Saturday, March 19th. No, that's not a joke. It's an actual two day event created by Devin T. Robinson X a poet/actor/activist from Atlanta, Georgia. Robinson X is the author of How Good Is Sex?, a workbook about relationships, and the star of several one man shows. The Olympics will feature track and fields events and live poetry. Robinson X answered a few questions about the AIDS Olympics, how he came to choose D.C. as his setting and why an AIDS Quilt must be burned for the event.
The AIDS Olympics almost sounds like a parody of sorts. And you have said on your website that you're sure that the AIDS Olympics will not last long. So why have an AO? Where did this idea come from?
How about, "Why not have an AIDS Olympics?" or "Why did it take for millions of people to die in order for such an idea to take birth?" I like those questions. To break down yours, the AIDS Olympics will be the only Olympics that is short lived. Reason being, HIV will cease to exist in a few years. We are confident this virus will be defeated by the combined efforts of all who care enough to stand and refuse to rest in the comfort zone of silence.
This idea was born when I noticed how common AIDS Walks, Runs and Balls became yet the potency of them continued to decline. People who attended such were not being educated or influenced to do more. Mainly, rededicated to do what they have been doing. Well, what about those who are not there? What about those who don't fight? What about those youth who are unaware of the meanings of such events? What about the people who won't attend something of that magnitude? The AIDS Olympics came from the above questionaire. Something interactive, fun, different but comprehendible for all.
Why did you choose to include poetry as one of the events?
Poetry has a way of speaking to the soul. Many people use poetry as therapy for illnesses and mental discomfort. This is our route to engaging an older and young audience about an issue in a soothing setting while desensitizing a sensitive topic through an ancient non-educational discriminatory method.
What is the purpose of burning an AIDS quilt?
Ashes of the quilt will fill the sky to illuminate the idea that those who have fought or are fighting this virus are soldiers of the highest orders.
How was D.C. selected to be the proving grounds for the AIDS Olympics?
No other place has such a mixture of irresponsible confusion than Washington, D.C. There is an over abundance of power that matches the sheer amount of powerless who walk the streets as sad zombies. Victims of bad decisions and poor leadership. Wealth is seen as you fly into the city but poverty is smelt and felt as you walk through it. Whites, black and Hispanics enjoy top notch health services, while those services are for a city that has one of the highest HIV rates in the world. Despite the evident bewildered land, this is a place of history. A mason by the name of Benjamin Banneker designed this beautiful area. Now, a mason by the name of Devin T. Robinson X has created an event to combat this ugly virus. No other place would do.
I take offense to your answer. You mean they don't have wealthy and poor people mixed in Atlanta? What do you mean by "irresponsible confusion?"
I did not mean to offend. It is my observation. The nation's capital is not supposed to have such poverty, sickness and pain. There is so much wealth, power and intelligence. Too much to have so much suffering.
Sound off a little. What do you want people to know or learn when they walk away from AO on Saturday night?
If you are breathing, you need to be there. If you want to see this virus come to an end, you need to be there. If you want to add a final blow to this abomination among mankind, you need to be there. The more people in the fight, the more that stand, the more that refuse to sit and the more that believe this is not an insurmountable task, the more of a chance we have at seeing this chapter of Unjust Death come to an end. This event only occurs every two years. You have to be here. Call 260-227-5446 for details. We can't, won't and don't win without your presence. March 18th and 19th while many will have an excuse for their absence, will you have a reason for your presence? Be here now so this virus won't later.
The AIDS Olympics will take place at Benjamin Banneker Park in Northwest and Inner Light Ministries in Southeast. For more information about the AIDS Olympics, click here. To learn more about Devin T. Robinson X, click here.
D.C. HIV/AIDS Examiner
Candace Y.A. Montague
Candace Y.A. Montague has been learning about HIV since 1988 (and she has the certificates from the American Red Cross to prove it). Health is a high priority to Candace because she believes that nothing can come of your life if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. One of her two master's degrees is in Community Health Promotion and Education. Candace was inspired to act against HIV after seeing a documentary in 2008 about African-American women and HIV. She knew that writing was the best way for her to make a difference and help inform others. Candace is a native Washingtonian and covers HIV news all around D.C. She has covered fundraisers, motorcycle rides, town hall meetings, house balls, Capitol Hill press conferences, election campaigns and protests for The DC Examiner.com and emPower News Magazine.
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