HIV Story Project: Make Your Voice Heard

Photo by Jesse Brooks.

Photo by Jesse Brooks.

The HIV Story Project is presenting “Generations HIV,” a portable, interactive video storytelling booth.

The booth is making the rounds across the nation, with a stop in Oakland designed to shine a light on African American contributions.

The booth functions like a photo booth but instead of taking pictures it records video. Founded in 2009, the booth has been used to collect an extensive archive of videos from different locations like San Francisco’s Castro, in Washington DC at The International AIDS Conference in 2012.

But the project still lacks stories from African Americans.

In the beginning, the seriousness of AIDS epidemic among African Americans was not recognized in our community. HIV media coverage was all over the news, dominating the headlines.

HIV was a disease affecting gay white men. As the years rolled on, the face of HIV changed, Blacks became the largest community affected, once again disproportionately affected by another disease.

The topic was not discussed and our community remained silent.

Highlighted by a number of well-known African Americans who were with HIV or died of AIDS, we started paying attention.

Max Robinson, the first Black US news anchorman, was one of the first African American celebrities to openly admit his status shortly before he died in 1988.

His death was followed by that of tennis star Arthur Ashe, who died from AIDS in 1993, and the rapper Eazy-E died in 1995.

Former basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced he had HIV in 1991. His announcement made it clear that AIDS was not just a gay disease and can happen to anyone.

Public testing of African American public officials, faith leaders, has helped raise the profile. This is only part of the story, and the Generations HIV booth needs to hear from everyday people from all walks of life, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV positive, HIV negative, a caregiver or if you lost a loved one.

We all have a story to tell.

Too many African Americans have relatives or know someone living, or who has died, as a result of this disease.

 

“You do not have to be infected with HIV tell your story,” said Denisha Delaney, co-chair of Bay Area State of Emergency Coalition and Black Treatment Advocacy Network (BASE/BTAN),

“The story can be as personal as your family or your friends, or it can be about knowing Dr. Robert Scott who died in 2009, and will always be remembered for his work in the community,” said Delaney.

Generations HIV storytelling booth debuted Feb. 21 and will be at Allen Temple Baptist Church, 8501 International Blvd, until March 9 at the AIDS Life Center.

The booth is sponsored by the HIV Story Project in partnership with Bay Area State of Emergency Coalition and Black Treatment Network (BASE/BTAN), The Black AIDS Institute and Allen Temple AIDS Ministry.

For information contact Jesse Brooks at (510) 575-8245 or mrjessebrooksii@gmail.com

 

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