Vanessa Johnson speaking in Washington D.C. after a showing of “Many Women, One Voice” documentary on National Women’s and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness day in March 2012.
Cynthia Carey-Grant, “HIV is not so unique that we can’t survive it. I’m inspired by a legacy surviving slavery.”
Featuring women from across the country and from all walks of life speaking openly and candidly about HIV/AIDS, the documentary, “Many Women, One Voice; African American Women in HIV,” inspires women to take care of themselves.
The film was designed to help Black women talk about HIV, featuring personal reflections, thoughts and feelings of African American women expressing themselves from a variety of points of view, including educators, HIV positive women, clergy, advocates, HIV negative women, policy shapers and healthcare professionals.
“The video is intended as a resource to reinvigorate and step up efforts to address the deadly disease’s highly disproportionate toll on African American women,” said C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. Inc. (NBLCA).
NBLCA is the oldest and largest organization of its kind that focuses on mobilizing, educating and empowering leaders to fight HIV/AIDS in local communities. The organization partnered with Gilead Sciences, Inc. to release the documentary in November 2010.
Vanessa Johnson, who is from the Washington DC area, says she was honored to be part of such a powerful project. In the film, she talks about living with HIV for 30 years.
She has been an HIV activist for the past 17 years, traveling around the country since the release of the film to speak on panels.
“This video has been eye opening for so many,” she said. “I see its effects by watching women’s reactions as they watch the film. I often take it for granted every women knows the information I know, but a lot of women are shocked.”
Cynthia Carey-Grant, executive director of WORLD in Oakland, is also in the video. The video gets women talking, “which is so important”, she said. “If they start to talk, testing and treatment are close behind.”
The highly-acclaimed documentary was shown in the South to give special attention to the challenges facing women in the state of Georgia, which has one of the highest AIDS rates of in the country. The video also had screenings in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina in high-risk communities.
Former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Congresswoman Barbara Lee was featured in the documentary, discussing the important role of legislators and other key official in the fight against the epidemic.
“I want the history books to record that African-American women were on the front lines beating the drum to stamp out HIV and AIDS from the face of the earth,” she said.
“I think it’s important that elected officials demonstrate the importance of testing,” said Lee. “I have tested publicly many times”
Watch the video on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OCU79URCcQ
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