November 7, 2016: Positive Women’s Network – USA is devastated by the sudden loss of our sister, PWN-USA Philadelphia co-chair Patricia Williams, who passed away unexpectedly Friday, November 4.
Patricia, better known to many of her friends as Pattie, is mourned by her devoted mother, for whom she was named, three brothers, one sister, several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, as well as many friends and the community. (Please consider helping her family bury her by contributing whatever you can here.)
Patricia lived her life giving to the community, training and advocating for a better world, free from stigma and discrimination.
“I helped mentor and train her myself, and I can attest that she was eager to learn and eager to apply all she learned toward helping to shape a better world for all marginalized people,” says Waheedah Shabazz-El, PWN-USA Regional Organizing Director.
Diagnosed in 1992, Patricia lived proudly and openly with HIV as a way of eliminating HIV-related stigma. Patricia had extensive connections with the faith community and was a member of the Helping Hands Ministry in her church, helping to feed and clothe the homeless.
She was a graduate of several of Philadelphia FIGHT’s Project Teach Programs. She was also a graduate of a women’s trauma support group called “Still Rising.”
Patricia’s hard work as a peer educator for Philadelphia FIGHT was to educate communities living with and vulnerable to HIV. She provided motivation and encouraged others to build their own capacity to be a part of the fight to eradicate HIV in our lifetime. She was a specialist in teaching HIV prevention and about other sexually transmitted illnesses to disproportionately impacted communities.
Patricia had a keen focus on treatment of HIV education issues. She was also a steadfast member of a 12-step fellowship and was a regular speaker and presenter for We The People, a former community-based organization for people in recovery and with various other social needs. She was a strong advocate and a firm believer that you must fight for your human rights, “because no one is going to hand them to you on a silver platter.”
Patricia recently was a co-coordinator of a funded project by PWN-USA Philadelphia to address stigmatizing language in HIV and graduated herself and a dozen other community members as Stand Up to Stigma Champions. She led the PWN-USA Philly chapter–one of PWN-USA’s most successful regional chapters–with consistency and integrity since 2014.
She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Please consider contributing whatever you can to help her family give her the burial and tribute she deserves. Click here to contribute. Every little bit helps.