OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leaders from the community and medical fields will be honored at the 25th Anniversary celebration for Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD): Still We Rise, Celebrating 25 Years of Positive Action.
The event, to be held the evening of Thursday, November 17, 2016, at Holy Redeemer Center in Oakland, will celebrate WORLD’s twenty-five year history of providing peer-based education, advocacy and leadership for women living with and affected by HIV. According to WORLD Executive Director, Cynthia Carey-Grant, WORLD will also call attention to the persistent challenges facing HIV-positive women, including stigma and few resources dedicated to women. Carey-Grant says the honorees have been chosen for their significant contributions in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“If we have come a long way since 1991,” says Carey-Grant, “it is because of the courage, hard work and commitment of these leaders in our community, in our Bay Area. They have shown the way to health and better lives. Our community is growing outward, expanding its reach, rising, as the poem says, in spite of stigma and opposition. I am very proud of what we have done, and what we will continue to do together. This evening is about honoring our past and our future.” WORLD united with global public health organization AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in 2014 to expand the Oakland nonprofit’s capacity to provide lifesaving service to women, girls, families and communities affected by HIV in the Greater Bay Area.
The “Busting Stigma” honoree, Jesse Brooks, is a role model to those living with HIV in the Bay Area. Activist, filmmaker, photographer, and columnist, Brooks long ago decided to make a difference and act powerfully to address HIV stigma, homophobia and discrimination. As an African American gay man living well with HIV, he co-chairs the Bay Area State of Emergency Coalition and serves on many community advisory boards. He says, “The way to create a better world, a better tomorrow, lies within women. WORLD empowers women not only to deal with HIV, stigma, but to strive to be their best selves.”
The 25th Anniversary Gala event will also feature leaders in the medical field, who have made the Bay Area a model for access and quality of care for people living with HIV. “Without them,” says Carey-Grant, “we would not have made the tremendous progress for thousands of women in Northern California, particularly women in vulnerable populations, who live with the disease. Kaiser Permanente and their dedicated physicians deserve the spotlight for the compassionate and proficient care.
VOLUNTEER – Jane Maxwell
VOLUNTEER – Nena Bridges
INNOVATOR – Kathleen Clanon, MD
UNSUNG HERO – Katherine Ruiz
HONORING AN INSTITUTION – Kaiser Permanente
BUSTING STIGMA – Jesse Brooks
GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY AWARD – Positive Women’s Network (PWN-USA)
KEYNOTE SPEAKER – Gail Wyatt, MD
Dr. Wyatt directs the Sexual Health program, the Phodiso Training Project in South Africa, the HIV/AIDS Translational Training Program, the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities, and is an Associate Director of the UCLA AIDS Institute. She has been internationally recognized for her work in Jamaica, Africa, India and most recently, South Africa, where she conducts a longitudinal study of the aftermath of rape among South African women. Among the six books she has written, her best-selling book, “Stolen Women: Reclaiming our Sexuality, Taking Back Our Lives,” provides the historical roots of violence and racism that continue to present challenges for African Americans today. In “No More Clueless Sex,” written with Dr. Lewis Wyatt, they both provide clinical information to assist men and women in understanding their bodies and sexuality.
Mistress of Ceremonies for this historic celebration is Alisson Sombredero, MD, Chief of the HIV Division, Highland Hospital. Her career in health care and infectious diseases began in her native city of Bogota, Colombia.
The event will feature spoken word, performance and interactive art, local wine and spirits, food trucks and a musical performance.
Since the organization’s inception in 1991, thousands of women — women who were not in care, women who hid their HIV status for fear of rejection and even violence, and women who had nowhere to turn — have found care and support from WORLD. Yet stigma remains a barrier to services and support for many HIV-positive women, particularly women of color.
For more information about WORLD and the 25th Anniversary celebration, visit www.womenhiv.org.
WORLD (‘Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases’) is a diverse organization for, by, and about women living with, and at risk for, HIV/AIDS. WORLD improves the lives and health of women, girls, families and communities affected by HIV through peer-based education, wellness services, advocacy, and leadership development. We envision a world where women, girls, and families affected by HIV and AIDS have the tools, support, and knowledge to live healthy and productive lives with dignity. Our vision is rooted in a commitment to human rights and wellness with the understanding that this includes freedom from violence; access to housing; quality healthcare; food security; physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing; education and economic justice.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 650,000 individuals in 37 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter & Instagram: @AIDSHealthcare