Ever wonder about the statistics on HIV/AIDS, aside from the Centers for Disease Control's periodic releases that Blacks - men, women, children - are contracting it the most? What do the numbers really mean? Are our infections really climbing and what do false positive tests mean for the way the numbers are disseminated? What funding is tied to all of this, and who really controls where the dollars are spent to curb HIV/AIDS in our community?
I've written about HIV/AIDS for many years, ever since my own beloved big sister, Van, fell victim to it. I've gone to Africa on a HIV/AIDS humanitarian mission. I've watched with gratitude as Van's twin daughters were born and reached their 16th birthday, uninfected and empowered.
Yet, even as an investigative reporter, I still have so many unanswered questions
about HIV/AIDS, but right now, the situation is dire and more education and awareness
President Barack Obama commissioned the Office of National AIDS Policy to develop a national HV/AIDS strategy for the U.S. When that strategy was released in July, Black and other HIV/AIDS experts and community advocates and service providers around the country made it clear: Blacks were missing from the strategy. They didn't recognize their own people, the most impacted, in the plan for solving the problem.
I am passionate about HIV/AIDS for more reasons than my sister's ordeal. So for my part - as these strategists, so in love with their people, hurried to organize their already practiced, well thought out, culturally sensitive and competent and relevant strategies to present to the National Office, in hopes that they even be included in the final product - I decided to lift my voice again, through personal writing, as well as presenting others in this struggle every day.
I've said all that to say that one day, soon, I'll tell my more personal story of my passion for battling HIV/AIDS, but for now, I'm asking you to tune in to Some of Us Are Brave for Sister Charlene Muhammad with HIV Radio on Saturday, November 13, at 1 p.m. That's either on the dial at 90.7 FM, or online at www.kpfk.org.
Several years ago, I launched the segment with international HIV/AIDS activist and speaker Hydeia Broadbent. Remember Hydeia?! I hope you do.
Whenever I think of her or hear her name, I immediately visualize that beautiful, cocoa brown, plump cheeked little girl with braided hair. The photo was always the same, a smiling, beautiful, warm-spirited little girl. Against all odds, she was living and despite having been born with the disease.
She was diagnosed as infected with advancement to AIDS at age 3. Doctors believed that Hydeia would not live past age 5, but they were wrong.
I bring her up because at the time, we were shocked! How could it be? We have to do something about this to prevent more Hydeias. That's what people said. And I believe that people have tried but the level of personal as well as collective responsibility and accountability seems to have fallen off and now it's almost as if when we hear about personal infections - if we do - or minimally these statistics are fired off, there's not too much rise out of us.
I sometimes wonder, have we succumbed? Then I think about Hydeia and other activists and understand that we haven't. We can't. We won't.
God willing, tune in to Some of Us Are Brave on the 13th, and on every Saturday at 1 PM Pacific Time. Weigh in. Yes, our show has been stripped of 30 minutes and moved to 1 pm, however, that's 30 minutes we can work with until full time is restored. That's 30 minutes of information. Ask questions. Give solutions. Let's strategize. The program was created by Black women for Black women and our communities and in solidarity with other communities in the struggle.
Last week, Thandisizwe Chimurenga and her guests laid out the importance of tomorrow's elections, why and what folk should vote for, and she closed her discussion with Breaking the Silence, an event occurring Nov 6, wherein Black and Latino women will deal with issues of domestic violence, sexual violence, intimacy, many things that we suffer, some have solutions to, but we just don't talk about it, so we sit alone and suffer. But we're not alone.
For Nov. 13, confirmed guest is Tony Wafford, Health and Wellness Director for the National Action Network and invited/awaiting confirmation is Hydeia Broadbent. And by all means, even though we will be crunched for real!!! the phone lines will be open
from the top of the hour for you to weigh in, but always, please, as we address the problems, we're moving forward with positive strategies for solutions. Right? :) Keep statements/questions succinct and tight!
Some of Us Are Brave, a Black woman's radio program
Saturday, Nov 13
1:00 P.M. Pacific Time
Please spread the word!!! We can beat HIV/AIDS! (and whatever else we're fighting against)
Thanks, Sis Charlene