JASS Blog Archives for August 2008

by Sindi Blose on August 3, 2008 on 11:53 pm

 I'm sharing this space with my friend and sister activist, Sindi Blose, from Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa. She won't mention the fact that she did an extraordinary job of rocking the Global Village this afternoon with the rest of our women crossing the line. The songs and dancing drew dozens of men and women to our cramped site with huge enthusiasm and nothing but joy and appreciation for the power of their very personal stories of struggle.

Hi everybody, I'm Sindi in Mexico having the time of my life so far. Today I attended the session on women and girls with a speech by Stephen Lewis. I was happy to finally be in the same room with him. We need many male leadership in Africa to view women as he does the world would be such a safer space for women to realize their full potential because there would be no discrimination against women on so many issues and platforms.

I'm part of a group of eight women from Southern Africa who planned a session on us being African women telling our own stories at the Women's Networking Zone in the Global Village today. When we got to the women's networking zone I was disappointed by the fact that we were 80% of our audience and there was a loud musical band distracting us so I thought that we won't be able to share our digital stories with anyone what a waste of time. we decided to sing African songs really loud, that speak about power and unity to fight against injustice on women. Then people started coming in numbers to hear what we have to say.

There are about 13 digital stories but we decided to only present three. First by Patience from Zimbabwe how she views her self as a women who is lesbian and how society discriminates and marginalizes her, second by Esther from Namibia her story about how she was robbed of her motherhood by her government health department when they decided to sterilize her without consent because she is HIV positive. Third story by Wala and post-natal depression how the public health system in her country fail women like her who suffer from post-natal depression
At least 70 people listened to our stories and felt the world is failing African women every single day, but most people were happy there we were there to tell our own stories in our own way.

The experience was empowering for me. It was my first time facilitating at an international AIDS conference. I am more than ready now to attend the rest of the conference and engage critically on issues relating to women especially in Africa.

 Lisa again: the most powerful responses to Sindi and the other women came from a Mexican transgender who told me "i can feel the power with these women. I only want to sit here and listen to them all day."   Two African men committed their solidarity -- saying that they would do whatever they could to fight "this oppression of their African sisters."

In closing, the official inauguration at the National Auditorium in downtown Mexico City. An all star cast included the President of Mexico, the UN Secretary General, the VP of Spain and 4 other important and powerful AIDS leaders, yet it was an HIV+ 13 year old girl from Honduras who's shaking voice and personal plea stole the show and had the place cheering with a standing ovation. Honorable mention goes to the amazing mariachi band and the gorgeous and talented Folkloric Ballet.

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by JASS on August 2, 2008 on 6:11 pm
By Ana Luisa

Marcha Contra Estigma, Discriminacion, y Homophobia

We all made it to Mexico City last night, many exhausted from the grueling cross-Atlantic journey, but happy to see each other and excited for the upcoming week of events around AIDS 2008. We are staying in a beautiful area, La Zona Rosa, and looking forward to exploring this amazing and enormous city. Today we had our orientation meeting, and it was the first time the JASS Africans and Latinas met face to face and exchanged personal and political stories. Everyone was moved and energized by this connection.  We spoke about how the AIDS 2008 space is dominated by the same actors who dominate the global AIDS agenda, mainly governmental organizations, massive foundations, corporations, and pharmaceutical companies. Decisions are made by the predominantly male, Global North, technical and corporate perspective. Women's voices are not heard in this space.  We strategized on ways we can enter this space, and have our collective voice heard to bring HIV positive women's issues to the forefront of the agenda.    

Then we participated in the March against Stigma, Homophobia and Discrimination. We donned our Women Crossing the Line t-shirts and made posters with slogans we came up with during the orientation.  It was a moving and exciting event culminating in a lively rally on the Zocalo, the huge central plaza of the city. 

Tonight we will continue to meet and plan our strategy for the upcoming week, as well as go out on the town!!

Marcha Contra Estigma, Discrimincacion y Homophobia           Marcha Contra Estigma, Discrimincacion y Homophobia

Marcha Contra Estigma, Discrimincacion y Homophobia           Marcha Contra Estigma, Discrimincacion y Homophobia

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