FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tami Haught: firstname.lastname@example.org; (641) 715-4182
July 21, 2015, Ft. Walton Beach, FL – The SERO Project and Positive Women’s Network-USA (PWN-USA) are co-hosting the HIV is Not a Crime criminalization education and advocacy track at the 18th annual Positive Living Conference, which will be held in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, from September 18 – 20, 2015.
The track will build capacity for HIV criminalization reform advocacy at the state and regional level, and will bring together community organizers, advocates, experts in law and policy, and people living with HIV, united in their commitment to end the criminalization of people living with and affected by HIV.
“The sessions are organized to help deepen and enhance existing grassroots movements to reform HIV criminalization statutes and end the wrongful use of HIV-positive status in criminal prosecutions,” said Tami Haught, SERO’s conference coordinator.
Naina Khanna, executive director of the Positive Women’s Network-United States of America, said, “The conference will empower attendees with three days of skills-building workshops and practical trainings on state advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition building, messaging, and familiarity with the human rights, legal, and public health issues related to HIV criminalization.”
With more than 400 participants each year, the Positive Living Conference may be the largest annual gathering of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the U.S.
“HIV criminalization is a topic that is front and center in the community, and we are thrilled to partner with two national PLHIV networks–SERO and PWN-USA–to bring this information to attendees,” said Butch McKay, executive director of OASIS, the Okaloosa AIDS Support & Information Services, which has sponsored the Positive Living Conference since its inception.
Goals of the criminalization track throughout the conference include:
- Center the voices, perspectives and experiences of people living with HIV and communities disproportionately impacted by policing and criminalization in HIV decriminalization advocacy
- Advance advocacy in states addressing HIV-related criminalization, stigma, and discrimination.
- Foster understanding of the political realities of the legislative process and the skills needed to navigate that process.
- Developing effective talking points and communication skills.