Most Impacted Communities Take Center Stage at #HINAC3
The long-anticipated HIV Is Not a Crime III Training Academy, organized by the SERO Project and Positive Women's Network - USA, took place June 3-6 at IUPUI in Indianapolis. What a remarkable three days it was!
Anchored by six thought-provoking plenary sessions, where expert panels of people living with HIV, advocates, attorneys and elected officials delved into rich discussions, including the experiences of survivors of HIV criminalization; the intersection of race and gender in criminalization; what legislative champions do behind the scenes to move bills; and much, much more. Participants also had 20 intriguing breakout sessions to choose from throughout the three days.
One of the most talked-about events of #HINAC3 actually happened before the training academy kicked off -- the Black United Leadership Institute (BULI). Fifty advocates of African descent participated in a pre-conference focused on building power among Black leaders in the HIV movement. "As I attended the Black United Leadership Institute (BULI), I learned how as a black individual, it's important to be in the FRONT!" wrote criminalization survivor Monique Howell of South Carolina. "It's important to be in spaces that involves people like me!! While sitting in a room with 50 other participants, I learned and received the tools needed to continue to make the movement of HIV decriminalization and things involving HIV/AIDS more meaningful! We have the right to make decisions that are about us and for us!"
HINAC participants also spent plenty of time networking, met with fellow advocates from their states and worked on short- and long-term plans to end HIV criminalization in their states. With major victories in the fight to end HIV criminalization in California, North Carolina and the state of Veracruz in Mexico since the last HINAC, and with strong efforts underway in Idaho, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri and Washington, among others, there was plenty to celebrate -- and plenty of lessons learned and strategies to share!
[Note from TheBody: This article was originally published by PWN-USA on June 19, 2018. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]