Every person living with HIV has the right to the tools and support they need to make well-informed decisions about education, employment, and other economic opportunities. Women living with HIV in the US tend to be disproportionately low-income; too few resources exist to support the educational and vocational needs of people living with HIV; and too little is known about the experiences of people living with HIV who are seeking employment or furthering their education.
In partnership with the National Working Positive Coalition, this session will feature a panel of women living with HIV highlighting their experiences related to work and education – including challenges they faced, strategies they used, and unmet needs they revealed. The webinar will also encourage audience members to share their own experiences and visions around education or employment during a robust Q&A period.
Connie L. Johnson
Connie L. Johnson is an author, community advocate and transformational speaker. Connie uses her professional, academic and lived experiences to create solutions to social injustices that adversely affect historically marginalized communities. She is the founder of Growing Into Greatness, a grassroots, community-focused nonprofit organization that aims to develop whole, self-sustaining communities. Connie is the author of Beyond Measure, a collection of personal stories that chart the journeys of eight Kenyan mothers living with HIV/AIDS. As a long-term HIV/AIDS survivor and the eldest daughter of a single mother who succumbed to AIDS-related illness in 1995, Connie uses her voice to address HIV/AIDS-related stigma and advocate on behalf of women and girls around the globe. She holds a B.A. in Child and Family Studies from Columbia College in Columbia, SC and an M.A. in Social Justice and Community Development from Loyola University Chicago. She is currently writing her second book, a memoir titled Survivor’s Song that is scheduled to be released later this year. Connie currently resides in her beloved hometown, Orangeburg, South Carolina.
Tiommi Luckett is a native of Arkansas and current resident of Little Rock. She identifies as a woman of trans experience of African descent. She is interested in conversations about restorative and transformative justice. She is an advocate for ending criminalization. As a Black woman of trans experience living with HIV in Arkansas, the potential for incarceration is ever-present. Tiommi believes that ending bailouts and pretrial detention, diverting resources to community for education, awareness, and sensitivity training can eliminate the continued murders of Black trans bodies everywhere.
Ieshia Scott is a member of The Well Project's Community Advisory Board and Positive Women's Network – USA's Communications and Training Program Assistant. She is a public and motivational speaker, health educator, mentor, peer, and support group facilitator based in Broward County, Florida. Ieshia became interested in HIV advocacy to help people living with HIV overcome barriers, access services, and find support in others living with HIV after being outed in 2014 publicly on Twitter. It was through the support and opportunities made possible from that moment, Ieshia found passion from her lifelong secret. She went on to create and facilitate trainings and content for youth, young adults, and HIV service organizations. A UCF Knight, Ieshia received her Bachelor’s of Science in Health Services Administration and is a current Nova Southeastern University c/o 2022 Graduate student in the Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management program.
Grissel Granados (moderator)
Grissel Granados has a Master's degree in Social Work and over a decade of experience managing HIV programming in a healthcare setting. She has participated in community planning at a local and national level, including the LA County Commission on HIV as well as Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Grissel believes that a gender and racial justice approach is the only way to make an impact on the HIV epidemic. She has been living with HIV since birth and she co-directed and co-produced the 2015 documentary titled We're Still Here, which depicts the stories of the first generation of people born with HIV in the 80s and 90s who are now adults.
- Understand the physical, psychological, social, and economic benefits of education and employment for people living with HIV
- Understand the landscape and context in which US women living with HIV across the gender spectrum seek (or are discouraged from seeking) education and/or employment
- Hear experiences from women living with HIV, how they have navigated participating in the workforce and/or pursued education, what supports made their pursuits possible, and what additional services were needed
- Encourage and witness attendees’ visions for their own education and employment