Paterson Alumnae “Rocks The Ribbon” and Continues The Fight
Submitted by Dawn Blakely-Harper, Jean Medley, Charmain Charles and Tanisha E. Tuck
On Dec. 1, 2020, the Paterson Alumnae Chapter of Paterson, New Jersey held a virtual World AIDS Day program; continuing our legacy of HIV/AIDS awareness. World AIDS Day, designated on the first day of December since 1988, is an international day of awareness for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for those living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from AIDS related illnesses.
The 2020 theme was, “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility-Rock The Ribbon.” Its purpose was to remind the public that although society is winning the fight against HIV, there are still people who face unacceptable levels of discrimination and stigma. The Global HIV and AIDS statistics 2020 fact sheet read, “38 million people globally were living with HIV in 2019; 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2019; 690,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2019 and about 7.1 million people did not know that they were living with HIV.” As a community, Paterson Alumnae Chapter will continue to do more so we may lessen the numbers, educate and share information to prolong life.
To signify unity and to support the ongoing fight of individuals and families living with HIV, Paterson Alumnae Chapter members wore black attire and red ribbons. The chapter continues to carry the torch and honor them in solidarity.
Event participants were afforded the opportunity to view a slideshow that showcased the chapter’s current and past work on HIV/AIDS within the Paterson community. To highlight its program, they were blessed to have, well-known HIV activist, mentor, coach and speaker, Dawn Breedon and Eric Jackson. The two took attendees down a road, painting a picture of their own life through the journey of HIV. Their transparency, sense of humor and sincerity captured the audience. They kept everyone engaged and prompted many of the attendees to ask questions during a robust question and answer session. Their responses left attendees feeling more knowledgeable, encouraged and ready to continue the fight for and with them.
As the presenters concluded, attendees participated in a candlelight observance and a moment of silence for all those persons who have transitioned due to AIDS, followed by a heartwarming and motivational poem titled, “We See You” written and recited by chapter member Tanisha E. Tuck. The poem added to the spark already lit by the presenters, encouraging the community to “See” those living with HIV and to fight alongside of them.
The program concluded with a word from the chapter president, admonishing chapter members and the community-at-large to get involved in helping to erase the HIV/AIDS stigma and to encourage their friends and family members to engage in HIV prevention and treatment. All were reminded of the importance of testing, to get tested and to “Know Their Status.”
Submitted by Dawn Blakely-Harper, Jean Medley, Charmain Charles and Tanisha E. Tuck On Dec. 1, 2020, the Paterson Alumnae Chapter of Paterson, New Jersey held a virtual World AIDS Day program; continuing our legacy of HIV/AIDS awareness. World AIDS Day, designated on the first day of December since 1988, is an international day of awareness …