conference

The conversation of how women of color move towards living healthier lives translates into areas of great concern for the community. March 9th and 10th I attended the Black women and Girls HIV/AIDS Conference series. The first day was hosted by The Multicultural AIDS Coalition with financial support from the Boston Public Health Commission.

The setting gave room for a healthy and engaging dialogue on the impact of HIV/AIDS on our community. They were panels on the underlying causes of HIV disparities in Black Communities. One of the most powerful moments of the day was the personal testimonies of women infected and affected.

The subject is heavy, there is no doubt but the way it was done gave way to expressing ourselves in creating our own agenda. The day spoke to the importance of being there for each other, and celebrating the long line of strong Black women in the community.

I facilitated the Recommendations for Providing HIV services to Black women and girls. Participants spoke of the current needs or realities of the women and girls they work with such as housing, trauma, the hurt and shame associated with the epidemic.

I moved in awe at the exchange of the women in the room. It was clear that the day would mark our way of moving forward in unity.

The second day was hosted by the Women of Color roundtable, which addresses HIV/AIDS among women of African descent. Once you entered the room you were greeted by some soft jazz music and a healing table that participants could sit and gather their thoughts.

The theme, Not One More Woman, highlighted Women of Color Doctors doing the work. We had Dr. Nancy E. Norman, Dr. Valerie Stone, Dr. Hall and Dr. Bisola Ojikutu who is a Healthworks member. These women have been trailblazers in addressing the impact on Black women and girls.

Dr. Ojikutu spoke of how such social issues as poverty, access to health care are intertwined with the work she is doing with women of color. It was clear that taking care of herself allows her to face the daily challenges of her long hours.

There was nothing more empowering than to have these doctors that look like the community they serve, addressing the reality and changing the paradigm of how we do our work.

Once the day came to a close, it was clear that this issue is a Health issue. We need to understand the risk factors that we are faced with on a daily basis.

There is a lot of stigma and judgment that comes with taking on this conversation yet I feel that if this blog is about our reality, then this issue is a definite reality of women of color and our journey to health.

Peace,

Yvette

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