Over the last year and a half as I have been re-introducing myself to the world (since my fall in 2002 when I was diagnosed with HIV), I had some most amazing moments getting my hands and heart involved in some amazing projects and calls-to-action; as I started on this adventure of new life my goal was to discover where my true calling would best fall into place in the fight against the wars on HIV that our nation is continually facing.
I tried the activism thing. . . a bit too radical for me. I tried the social media thing, and found I am too ADD to sit in front of a computer for hours at a time, and besides there are some awesome social media projects out there, so rather than recreate another wheel, its best if I support what's already in motion and do my part to spread those messages. And lastly, while I am an advocate for the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS, I have learned through much feedback and through personal reflections that where I believe I fit, and have found my true calling is to simply remain dedicated to presenting motivational speaking, training and educational programs to youth and HIV service professionals while balancing my dream to be positioned (once again) as one of the most talented escape artists since the Houdini era.
I have now presented/performed to more than 10,000 people (youth, service professionals, general public) over this last year speaking on topics that change the perception of those living with HIV/AIDS; delivering heart-pounding and life-saving messages to youth in an effort to inspire youth to make healthier choices; I have been featured as a plenary speaker at national conferences presenting on topics such as outreach strategy, and the importance of communities including the voices and faces of those living with HIV to inspire change. And as many of you know my show Beyond Belief, which has been a huge hit, toured nationally and is now in the planning to return to New York City later this spring. With all this said, I write this not to just 'float-my-own-boat'; yet more to share with you my commitment to inspiring communities to engage in more education efforts especially at the High School level. Students respond to 'real-talk' about sex and other "out of the classroom and when parents aren't looking" behaviors when they are given the chance to engage on an equal playing field with a speaker bold enough to speak to them at their level. This creates change! I have seen it!
With all this said, moving forward, I will be posting bi-monthly; providing updates on experiences I have had as I continue to speak. What works. . . what doesn't. My hope is that this information will be shared and read by educators, parents, HIV service professionals, the media and anyone else who has an interest in deepening the learning experience among our youth about the risks of contracting HIV and other STI's. Additionally, another one of my core missions will be to reach out to the media whom I believe is the solution to reversing the war on HIV Stigma in our nation. It was the media who frantically educated us about HIV based on FEAR. Since they are responsible for shaping the fear of HIV they will (and do) have the power to reverse the stigma. I will keep you updated with my efforts.
So welcome to my blog once again, a refreshed space providing tools and educational strategies that may provide useful to inspire change, engage HIV service professionals and empower youth to make healthier choices in life.
Thank you for following my blog!