The HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA) is a 13,000-person national network in the United States, based at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. The HIV Prevention Justice movement understands that the ability of any person to determine his, her or their HIV-related destiny is tied to the conditions in their community. These conditions are not determined only by individual choices or access. We expose and confront the persistence of inequality that comes from economic, political and social conditions that benefit the few to the injury of many.
Read the 2012 HIV PJA Action Agenda Executive Summary.
The HIV Prevention Justice Alliance is a project of AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
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Ms. Borrego is an HIV+ transwoman originally from Denver, Colorado, who grew up mostly in suburban Connecticut. She acquired HIV at age 20; the same year as she began her transition. She has been living in the Boston area since 2004 where she has worked with and at a number of different community organizations, including JRI Health, TransCEND, the Boston Living Center and Cambridge Cares About AIDS. She was also a founding member of the US Positive Women’s Network (US PWN), an organization led by and for HIV+ American women to address the way HIV disproportionately affects women in the US. In 2010, Ms Borrego was chosen to speak at the Opening Plenary of the US Conference on AIDS (USCA) to discuss how HIV affects transgender youth.
Gina Brown is a Medical Case Manager at NO/AIDS Task Force. Gina has worked in the field of HIV for 8 years. Gina is a full time student at Southern University at New Orleans, working towards her Master’s Degree in Social Work; with an expected graduation date of May 2012. Gina is a Public Speaker and Community Advocate, and has served on the New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council (current Chair), AIDS-Alliance for Children, Youth, and Families (Secretary and past chair of the Consumer Committee), LAAN (La. AIDS Advocacy Network), Positive Women’s Network, PLUS (Positive Leaders Uplifting Sistas) and ICW (International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS). Gina is also active in the following campus/Social Work groups; Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society, SOS (social work service organization), History Club, NASW (National Association of Social Workers) and NOABSW (New Orleans Association of Black Social Workers).
Hadiyah Charles is an advocate and grassroots women’s health HIV activist that works closely and extensively on policy and advocacy issues with women living with HIV/AIDS, their families, and communities. Ms. Charles has over twelve (12) years of experience working with people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Through the course her career, Ms. Charles has helped to create and cultivate a new generation of women activists, community organizers, and leaders to effect change for people living with HIV/AIDS. She has spearheaded a number of important initiatives, including intensive advocacy and media trainings for HIV positive women, community outreach and education workshops on issues relevant to people living with HIV/AIDS. She is particularly interested in bridging the gap between sexual reproductive health and HIV in an effort to generate female initiated HIV prevention methods.
Ms. Charles is committed personally and professionally to fighting the injustices faced by all women, particularly women living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Ms. Charles is an active member in her community. She is an advisory board member of the Center for HIV Law and Policy, a former board member of Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), a founding member of AVAC’s Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention Research, Outreach, Advocacy and Representation program (PxRoar), and a community working group member of the HIV Prevention Trials Network 065 study, a feasibility study of a community-level test, link to care, plus treat strategy in the United States. Hadiyah is also an adviser to the Positive Women’s Network. Ms. Charles was recently recognized as a Champion of Change as part of President Obama’s Winning the Future Across America Initiative. Ms. Charles is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Women’s Health.
Dázon Dixon Diallo
Dázon Dixon Diallo is Founder and President of SisterLove, Incorporated, established in 1989, the first women’s HIV/AIDS organization in the southeastern United States. She is also adjunct faculty in women’s health at Morehouse School of Medicine’s Masters of Public Health Program in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Diallo is a founding board member of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. She currently chairs the Fulton County HIV/AIDS Services Planning Council (Ryan White Council) and the Steering Committee of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, and she co-chairs the Community Advisory Board of the HOPE Clinic, Emory University’s HIV Vaccine and Microbicides Research Center. Ms. Dixon Diallo hosts a weekly radio program focused on black women, called “Sistas’ Time” on WRFG 89.3FM and www.wrfg.org in Atlanta.
She has pioneered in the women’s HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice arena, developing a seminal prevention intervention that is now a part of the CDC’s National Compendium of Evidenced-based HIV Prevention Interventions, establishing the first transitional housing program for HIV positive women and children, and engaging a long-term vision for HIV positive women’s leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS and in promoting women’s human rights.
In 2001, Dixon Diallo opened a SisterLove program office in Mpumalanga, a rural South African Province near Johannesburg, where the project focus is capacity building and sustainable development for local women-led HIV/AIDS organizations. She has received numerous awards and recognitions over the 27 years she has been working in HIV/AIDS and women’s human rights. Ms. Diallo holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (C’97) and a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College (C’86) in Atlanta, GA.
Since childhood, I’ve witnessed and experienced the traumatic neoliberal gutting of social services and welfare, the racialized War on Drugs, the unparalleled expansion of the prison industrial complex and emergence of and loss of loved ones to AIDS related illness. I am also ever inspired by organized resistance and resiliency by impacted communities across the globe – be it the Puerto Rican AIDS activists occupying the San Juan cathedral, or ACT UP Philadelphia’s current campaign for housing justice, or Tracy Bumpus’s dual struggle for trans justice and AIDS activism, or incarcerated AIDS activists demanding services. I believe it is vital for poor, black trans and gender variant communities to organize for self determination and against oppressive violence. I’m a proponent of prison abolition and queer and trans liberation because, along with so many others, I refuse to measure safety through “chains and corpses.”
I have seen how our communities — of color, queer and trans, poor, drug user, sex worker — have been impacted in the past and at present, by the prison industrial complex and criminalization. Even as I’ve seen the prison system holding so many communities, bodies and genders captive and policed, I know that our political imagination is free and that it is essential – for survival — to imagine and enact alternatives to incarceration and criminalization and that the best of movement work grows out of imagination, the ability to speculate “what if” as opposed to being content with “what is.”
In the past I have worked with Critical Resistance, a prison abolitionist organization started in 1998 by Angela Davis and other academics and activists. In Washington DC I was involved with a grassroots campaign to combat prostitution free zones following the release of the Move Along Report. Together with members Penelope Saunders and Elizabeth Nanas of The Best Policy Practices Project and the Desiree Alliance, I co-authored a Report on sex work in United States that was submitted to the United Nations 9th Session of the Universal Periodic Review. As a recipient of the Leeway Art and Change Grant, I am putting together a publication about the impact of HIV on trans communities of color in Pennsylvania. I Recently curated a community driven exhibit at the William Way Community LGBTQ Center commemorating the ten year anniversary of the Philadelphia transgender health conference and organized and moderated a panel, “HIV Criminalization: Community Resistance and Resilience,” at Philadelphia FIGHT Prevention Summit.
Kiesha McCurtis is the Project Director for the Intervention Core of the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services, an NIMH funded prevention research center that provides technical and capacity building assistance to scientists and diverse stakeholders. She is also a member and consultant for Desiree Alliance, a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of organizations, communities and individuals across the U.S. building local and regional leadership and constructive activism in the sex worker population to advocate for sex workers’ human, labor and civil rights. Kiesha has worked in the HIV prevention field in both research and community-based settings. Her interests include social justice and human rights-based approaches to HIV prevention through research, activism, advocacy, and training.
At 26, Donté Smith is a Chicago transplant who has been engaged in a wide variety of social justice movements from student and labor organizing, to anti-war and anti-miltarism struggles, and to queer and transgendered liberation work. Named the one of Chicago’s 30 under 30 in 2012 for their work as an HIV advocate, Donté currently works at the Center on Halsted as Youth Outreach Coordinator. Previously, Donte served as a member of the AIDS United AmeriCorps Chicago team which was awarded the 2012 Alexian Brothers’ Award of Excellence by the Alexian Brothers’ AIDS Ministry for their long-term community garden project. As a past National Forensic League Service awardee, Donté attended the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Besides their professional and volunteer advocacy work, Donté co-founded the Black and Brown Punk Show series in 2010, which brings together punk communities and artists of color from all over the country. As Dj Masisi (Creole for “faggot”), Donté performs all over the city and country. Further, Donté is currently producing HIVoices, a documentary and blog series highlighting the voices of long-term survivors of HIV. As someone living with HIV since 2009, Donté hopes it will serve as a resource for people newly diagnosed with the virus.
Laura Thomas is the Deputy State Director, San Francisco, of the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs, where she campaigns for cutting-edge harm reduction policies and state syringe access legislation. She has been advocating on HIV and public health issues for over twenty years, first becoming involved in AIDS activism through ACT UP in San Francisco.
Laura has worked for community-based organizations in San Francisco, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and as a health policy consultant. She is a Co-Chair of the San Francisco HIV Health Services Planning Council. She served for eight years on the Board of the CAEAR Coalition, advocating for the federal Ryan White legislation and funding. She has volunteered with the local syringe access program for over 14 years. She is on the Board of Directors for the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco and was on the Board of WORLD – Women Organizing to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases — for the past ten years.
Laura received the Unsung Hero Award on World AIDS Day 2010 from the National AIDS Memorial Grove. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Public Policy, and holds a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University. She is firmly rooted in San Francisco with her partner and three cats, has quite the collection of red shoes, and hikes around and looks at birds for fun.
Waheedah Shabazz-El, a 55-year-old African American Muslim woman, is a Community Organizer and Trainer with the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP). Waheedah is a retired Postal Worker who was diagnosed with AIDS in 2003. Since her diagnosis, she has become a fervent member of the social justice movement and an AIDS activist, advocate, educator and community organizer. Certified in HIV prevention, she is also an organizer and spokesperson for ACT-UP Philadelphia. Waheedah is a graduate of Project TEACH Outside and Project TEACH, educational advocacy programs at Philadelphia FIGHT. She is employed by Philadelphia FIGHT as an HIV counselor and tester and volunteers as a peer educator. She is an organizer for the Philadelphia County Coalition for Prison Health-Care, an editor of Prison Health newsletter, and a member of the PRHCN (Prison Re-Entry Health-Care Network). She is also a member of the Ryan White Positive Committee for Philadelphia’s Office of HIV Planning.
Waheedah took an HIV test during a six-month incarceration in 2003. At that time, she learned that she was not only HIV positive but also had AIDS. Not knowing where to turn, Waheedah was led to ACT-UP Philadelphia. She had heard about a group who fought for dignity for people living with AIDS. Waheedah found that dignity at ACT-UP as well as the strength and empowerment to understand that she could make a difference by being vocal about HIV and raising awareness in her own community and ultimately around the world.
Waheedah is currently the sole community representative on the HPTN 064 Protocol Team, which is in the process of developing an HIV prevention clinical trial targeting women at risk in the United States. She is the Community Constituency Representative for the INSIGHT Clinical Trials Network at Temple University Hospital and serves as Vice Chair of the Penn Center for AIDS Research Community Advisory Board. She is also a member of the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA).
She remains closely allied with local schools, faith-based groups, county prisons, homeless shelters, recovery houses and abused women’s programs, where she shares her life experiences and teaches HIV prevention. She advocates for national and international marginalized communities. Waheedah resides in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia. Recently widowed, Waheedah is the mother of three adults and has four teenage grandchildren, all of whom support her role as a community advocate who offers a glimmer of hope to the many people on whom the struggle has taken its toll.
Waheedah retired from the US Postal Service in 2005 and now accepts the position of working full time as an advocate for Social Change. She loves to cook and entertain her friends, family and extended family of activists and advocates. Her home in Overbrook has been delightfully referred as the “underground railroad for activists.” She also loves to write, play scrabble and swim.
Waheedah has a magnetic personality, and her devotion to her work as a community organizer is evident in her passion and perseverance.