Growing up in a small rural North Carolina town, I grew up listening to artists like Sam Cooke. The lyrics from one of his songs describe the hope that my advocacy work is a contribution to change. “Like the river I’ve been running ever since”. Looking back, the past four years of my life are best described by these lyrics. For me this past April celebrated a milestone for me celebrating being HIV positive - untransmittable and undetectable.
Four years ago I was in a dark place that caused me to be extremely depressed. Now four years forward I can look back and look at the progress I have made in using my voice to advocate for others and to help effect change in how others view people living with HIV and fighting the stigma that goes along with it. A couple of events that caused me to begin to live again were the HIV/AIDS walk I did in Wilmington this past March and being able to attend the AIDSWATCH conference again for the second time. I was able to meet some of my wonderful PWN sisters in person. These are women who have my back no matter what and have embraced me with love, open arms and hugs that just make you know everything is okay.
I can only aspire to be half the advocate as Jesse Milan, Barb Cardwell and Wanda Brendle-Moss to name a few. I have learned that even my tiny voice can effect change.