Executive Director – Naina Khanna
A national speaker, trainer, and advocate, Naina Khanna has worked in the HIV field since 2005, following her HIV diagnosis in 2002. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for AIDS United, the National Steering Committee for the US People Living with HIV Caucus, as a member of the Women’s HIV Research Initiative, and served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) from 2010 – 2014. Prior to working in HIV, Naina co-founded and served as National Field Director for the League of Pissed Off Voters, a progressive national organization working to expand participation of young people and communities of color in electoral politics. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Medical Sociology at the University of California – San Francisco.
National Training and Leadership Director – Vanessa Johnson, JD
Vanessa Johnson is the co-owner of the Washington, D.C.-based Ribbon Consultant Group (Ribbon). Ribbon is a limited liability corporation (LLC) providing consulting and technical assistance services to organizations and individuals representing and serving individuals with chronic health conditions.
Prior to forming Ribbon, Vanessa worked as a national advocate and community leader for people living with HIV and related social justice issues. Her career accomplishments include 30 years of creating and scaling up responsive community health services. In this pursuit, Vanessa dedicated 15 years to developing and providing capacity building assistance in the area of HIV with a special emphasis on women living with HIV. She is an experienced facilitator and nationally certified trainer with a focus on leadership development, community mobilization and public health education and interventions.
Vanessa has proven expertise in collaborative work with public health organizations and the community of people living with HIV. She initiated the founding of the U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus and is a co-founder and Board member for the Positive Women’s Network-USA, the National Black Women’s HIV/AIDS Network and the National Women and AIDS Collective. She is also a Board member of the National Working Positive Coalition.
At the organizational level, she has expertise in successful proposal writing, business plans, policies and procedures and developing partnerships with a variety of institutions and organizations. This expertise is reflected in the formation of the Capital District African-American Coalition on AIDS, a nonprofit organization in Albany, NY, where she served as co-founder and Deputy Executive Director. She also served as a Vice-President for a national nonprofit organization whose mission was to improve the health outcomes and quality of life of people living with HIV by ensuring access to quality health and human services and protecting the right to live a full and productive life.
In recognition of her contributions, Vanessa was recognized by the HIV community and featured as an Unsung Hero in the December 2013 Issue of POZ Magazine. She also was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2009 for her work in prevention. In terms of awards, she received the Gloria Award (Ms. Foundation) in 2007, the NYS Harriet Tubman Humanitarian Award in 2004, and the Paul G. Hearne/Association of People with Disabilities Award in 1999. Vanessa is a graduate of Temple University Law School.
Communications Director – Jennie Smith-Camejo
Jennie Smith-Camejo came to PWN-USA in October 2015 from the world of labor, where she provided communications support for a wide variety of organizing, political, social justice and worker contract campaigns, including successful efforts to organize adjunct faculty at Bay Area colleges, bring attention to the impacts of big money and tech corporations on working people and communities of color in San Francisco, secure fair contracts for public sector and private nonprofit workers of San Francisco, Napa County and Oakland, fight health insurance rate increases for those workers, and raise the minimum wage in several Bay Area cities. Her work in communications runs the gamut from press outreach to blogging to website and social media maintenance and engagement to training members in messaging to graphic design.
She came into communications the grassroots way–as a media spokesperson, blogger and legislative relations co-chair for her teachers’ union in her past life as a high school teacher. The experience of organizing around critical education and worker justice issues, messaging for different audiences to garner attention and support for important issues, and speaking truth to power convinced her that she wanted to work full-time in the movement for social and economic justice. She is excited to bring her passion and skills to support PWN-USA’s important work for justice for women living with HIV!
Regional Organizing Director – Waheedah Shabazz-El
Waheedah Shabazz-El is an African American Muslim woman and retired postal worker, diagnosed with AIDS in 2003. A founding member of the Positive Women’s Network-USA; Shabazz-El currently holds a PWN-USA staff position as Regional Organizing Coordinator.
Shabazz-El is a board member for the PA AIDS Law Project as well as Philly Faith in Action. She held the position as Chairperson for the Community Advisory Board at the University of Pennsylvania, Center for AIDS Research, CFAR from 2007-2013. Shabazz-El currently serves as Steering Committee Member for the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV-PJA) and the Global Network of People with AIDS- North America’s Stigma Index. As part of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy Working Group, Shabazz-El was invited to the White House to meet President Barack Obama, July 2010.
Representing PWN-USA, Shabazz-El delivered a closing plenary address at the 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna Austria. Upon her return to the US, Shabazz-El was appointed an official U.S. Delegate to the UN General Assembly’s 2010 High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS.
Shabazz-El is a long time member of ACT-UP Philadelphia and former National Organizer for CHAMP-Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project. Locally she is currently employed at Philadelphia FIGHT as their Goodwill Ambassador. Shabazz-El is a fighter for social justice and recognizes that is the absolute love and support from her husband, family and community that keeps her going strong.
Policy & Advocacy Manager – Arneta Rogers
Arneta Rogers is PWN’s Policy and Advocacy Manager. She graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law in May of 2015 and is passionate about working towards social justice and an inclusive reproductive justice movement focused on the intersections of race, class and gender. While at Hastings, she served on the executive boards of the Black Law Students Association and OutLaw. She was the Symposium Editor for the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal where she organized “What’s the ‘G’? Gentrification and the Myth of Fair Housing,” an assessment of the lawyer’s role in the current affordable housing crisis. Her Student Note, How Police Brutality Harms Mothers: Linking Police Violence to the Reproductive Justice Movement, was published in Vol. XII, Issue No. 2 of the same journal.
During law school she provided direct legal services as a clerk at the AIDS Legal Referral Panel and supported the policy and legislative advocacy work of the Reproductive Justice Project of the ACLU of Northern California. Prior to attending law school, Arneta advocated for health equity for communities of color at the National Medical Association, organized Oakland youth around issues of sex-trafficking and violence in their communities and served as the Policy Associate for the Women’s Community Clinic in San Francisco.
Prior to this role, Arneta was PWN-USA’s Reproductive Justice and HIV Legal Fellow.
Reproductive Justice & HIV Legal Fellow – Cammie Dodson
Cammie graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. She is passionate about using her legal education to support the larger movement for racial, economic, and reproductive justice. During law school, Cammie worked as a law clerk at Justice Now, where she advocated for compassionate release and health care access in partnership with people in women’s prisons, and at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, where she assisted in efforts to combat the criminalization of pregnant and parenting women. She also clerked at organizations working in civil rights, youth justice, and reentry services, and performed research on the intersection of domestic violence and the child welfare system, along with other reproductive rights and justice issues. Cammie holds a B.A. in International Studies with a focus in Health and Human Rights from the University of Washington.