PWN-USA and SERO Project Announce 2018 HIV Is Not a Crime National Training Academy in Indianapolis

         sero_pwn_cropFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ken Pinkela: ken.pinkela@seroproject.com or Jennie Smith-Camejo: jsmithcamejo@pwn-usa.org

May 15, 2017:  Building on the amazing success of the HIV Is Not a Crime II National Training Academy last year, the SERO Project and Positive Women’s Network-USA are pleased to announce that the planning process is underway for the third HIV Is Not a Crime National Training Academy to support repeal or modernization of laws criminalizing the alleged non-disclosure, perceived or potential exposure or transmission of HIV. The training academy will be held at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) June 3-6, 2018.

Continue reading “PWN-USA and SERO Project Announce 2018 HIV Is Not a Crime National Training Academy in Indianapolis”

This #MothersDay, Help #FreeMichaelJohnson and Bring Him Home to His Mom

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May 11, 2017: This Sunday will mark the fourth Mother’s Day that Tracy Johnson has had to spend separated from Michael, her youngest son. That’s how long he has been incarcerated under Missouri’s archaic and draconian HIV criminalization laws, following a trial marred by racism and homophobia.

But recently, Michael and his mom finally got some good news: this past December, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, reversed his conviction based on the prosecution’s failure to turn over important evidence in a timely fashion. But Michael is not out of the woods yet. In order for Michael to have a chance to get his life back, he needs the best legal counsel available at the new trial that will take place sometime soon. This is where your help is needed Continue reading “This #MothersDay, Help #FreeMichaelJohnson and Bring Him Home to His Mom”

On #NWGHAAD, PWNers Assert and Celebrate #BodilyAutonomy

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March 16, 2017: For National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (#NWGHAAD), PWNers from coast to coast hosted and participated in events, in person and online, raising awareness and educating our communities about HIV and its impact on women and girls and asserting the bodily autonomy of women living with HIV.

From the Women Living Conference in Atlanta (PWNer Shyronn Jones shares her experience there in this blog) to a special event focused on the theme of bodily autonomy in Philadelphia, PWN-USA members and regional chapters took advantage of the occasion to speak out, share our stories and advocate for our rights. You can see the events PWN-USA members and chapters hosted, participated in and/or presented at here. And check out the slideshow above! Continue reading “On #NWGHAAD, PWNers Assert and Celebrate #BodilyAutonomy”

On #NWGHAAD, We Celebrate #BodilyAutonomy

March 10, 2017: Today is National Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day. In honor of the approximately 300,000 women living with HIV in the United States, please join Positive Women’s Network – USA in asserting and celebrating the bodily autonomy of all women and girls living with HIV, including women of trans experience.

NWGHAAD 17 graphic v2-01Yesterday, we presented Bodily Autonomy: A Framework to Guide Our Future in a special webinar (watch the recording here!) Today at 12 PM EST/9 AM PST, we continue the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #NWGHAAD and #BodilyAutonomy with special guests from HIVE, SisterSong, Desiree Alliance, The Well Project, Positively Trans, Arianna’s Center and Prevention Access Campaign. We invite you to join the conversation online! You can also access our complete #NWGHAAD #BodilyAutonomy social media toolkit here, complete with sample social media posts and shareable graphics.

The Bodily Autonomy Framework is available here (Download the printer-friendly PDF version of this framework here.)

Women and girls living with HIV across the U.S.: Today, and every day, we honor you. Allies: Thank you for your continued support and commitment to upholding the rights of women living with HIV.

California Lawmakers Announce Bill to Modernize Discriminatory HIV Criminalization Laws

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
February 6, 2017

CONTACT: Jason Howe, Equality California
PHONE: 323-848-9801 MOBILE: 415-595-9245 EMAIL: jason@eqca.org

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Senator Wiener and Assemblymember Gloria Announce Bill to Modernize Discriminatory HIV Criminalization Laws

Equality California, Positive Women’s Network – USA, ACLU and others join in support of bill to reform outdated laws enacted during a time of fear and ignorance to make them more consistent with laws involving other serious communicable diseases

San Francisco –  Today, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) introduced a bill to modernize laws that criminalize and stigmatize people living with HIV. Assemblymember David Chiu is also a co-author of the bill. SB 239 would amend California’s HIV criminalization laws, enacted in the 1980s and ‘90s at a time of fear and ignorance about HIV and its transmission, to make them consistent with laws involving other serious communicable diseases. The bill is cosponsored by the ACLU of California, APLA Health, Black AIDS Institute, Equality California, Lambda Legal and Positive Women’s Network – USA. The organizations are part of Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform (CHCR), a broad coalition of people living with HIV, HIV and health service providers, civil rights organizations and public health professionals dedicated to ending the criminalization of HIV in California. San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy also attended the announcement.

Continue reading “California Lawmakers Announce Bill to Modernize Discriminatory HIV Criminalization Laws”

#WhyWeMarch: Toward Liberation and Justice

Art by Jennifer Maravillas
Art by Jennifer Maravillas

January 20, 2017: Today, a thin-skinned, authoritarian narcissist who lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes is being sworn into the highest office in the United States, and arguably the most powerful position in the world. He has shown utter contempt not only for women, Muslims, Latinx and Black people, immigrants and the LGBT community, but also for the Constitution and its most basic protections, including freedom of the press; democracy; facts; and human decency.

Tomorrow, members of Positive Women’s Network – USA will join hands with an estimated 200,000 women and others who believe in freedom, justice, and equality at the Women’s March on Washington, and with an estimated two million women at “sister marches” in 616 cities around the world.
Continue reading “#WhyWeMarch: Toward Liberation and Justice”

Women of PWN Dismantling Racism

December 19, 2016

To the Positive Women’s Network Sisterhood and Allies –

At the 2016 PWN Speak Up Summit in Ft Walton Beach, white women living with HIV committed to study and challenge racism, within ourselves and in our communities. We promised to do this work even when it makes us uncomfortable. We want and need to stand with our Black and brown sisters living with HIV in the struggle for dignity, justice, and rights for us all. 

image-4The election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence has shaken this country to its core. As women living with HIV, we are gravely concerned about our ability to maintain our health and health care, housing, childcare, wages, and support services. As white women living with HIV, we are also frightened for the safety of our Black and brown sisters, cisgender and transgender, for our own Black and brown children, and for all members of non-white and non-Christian, non-heterosexual communities. As this wave of white supremacy crashes over our country, we commit to stand together and to fight alongside our Black and brown sisters and communities. 

Starting in January 2017, our newly formed group- Women of PWN Dismantling Racism, will initiate an antiracism curriculum by and for white women living with HIV. We will host webinars for all women living with HIV where we can meet, hear, learn, and support each other. As we do this, we will continue, on our own and through PWN, to monitor events in Washington, hold all our elected officials accountable and take action to fight anything that negatively affects marginalized communities or our Black or brown sisters in any way. We will continue fighting for justice for women living with HIV, our families and our communities.

We invite you all to be part of our kickoff webinar on January 17, 2017, 5:30 – 7 PM EST (2:30 – 4 PM PST) as we provide an overview of the curriculum goals and welcome those who want to participate in and support this work.  Please click here to register for the webinar.

In Sisterhood, Solidarity, and Action –

Women of PWN Dismantling Racism

 

 

I (Still) Believe that We Will Win.

November 15, 2016: Today, we grieve. Tomorrow, we fight.

Resistance in the face of terror is nothing new for our communities.

Our bodies are transgressive: Black, brown, and otherwise pigmented; queer; HIV-containing; border-crossing.

Our bodies and those of our ancestors have mostly migrated – some by choice but many by force – to a country that does not love us. 60 million people told us that last week. But our ancestors have been organizing in the face of hate, bigotry, terror, and loss for hundreds of years. We will not stop now.

Combatting racism, misogyny, xenophobia, transphobia, and patriarchy is an everyday reality for women living with HIV in the U.S. We are not strangers to living in fear or to having our rights violated. We know full well that justice has always been a fantasy for many of our members because Lady Justice’s blindfold is just for show; the heavy fingers of bigotry and resentment have weighed on the scales of justice throughout American history.

Regardless of the election’s outcome, we would have had to continue to fight vociferously for the safety, health, dignity and equality of ourselves and our loved ones. With a different outcome, our work likely would have been defined by an offensive strategy: pushing for progress and accountability to campaign promises. What transpired with last week’s election sets us back on the defensive, threatening decades of progress for women, people of color, those of us living with chronic health conditions and disabilities, queer and trans people—that is, just about everyone in this country who is not a white male.

For now, we commit to encircle and uplift those who will be increasingly targeted in the face of a Trump administration – for being brown, Black, queer, Muslim, immigrant, indigenous, non-English-speaking, womyn, and trans and gender non-conforming. Our next steps cannot be a reform agenda. Our tactics must be radical, revolutionary, and intersectional – building and centering leadership and strategic investment where it is most needed. Civil rights were not granted through an election; they were won in the streets.

Still, it is not enough to protest in the streets while we allow the institutions we work for and that purport to serve us to perpetuate the same oppressions we are fighting in our governmental institutions. We must actively work to combat racist, misogynistic and patriarchal practices within institutions and organizations, while we fight state-sanctioned violence.

And at the same time, we commit to radical self-care, because our preservation, health and dignity itself is revolutionary. As the great Audre Lorde said: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Elections have consequences, and we fear the worst from this one; but that only means we must fight harder, smarter and more relentlessly than ever before. In the coming weeks, months, and years, we must work intersectionally and in solidarity. We cannot work narrowly on one issue; more than ever, we need to fight for a broad progressive agenda, inclusive of ensuring that our very rights to healthcare, food, housing, land, movement, migration, and even to participate in democracy are protected. Our fates are intertwined. Only through fierce solidarity will we be strong enough to withstand the attacks on our communities and our very right to exist.

We will fight as if our life depends on it, because it does. In the meantime, love each other fiercely and hold each other tight.

See you in the streets and in the halls of Congress.

In sisterhood and solidarity ~
Positive Women’s Network – USA

Read PWN-USA Communications Director Jennie Smith-Camejo’s call to white people to engage in this moment:

“White friends, I understand your grief, and I know it’s real. I am living with it too. We are grieving together-mostly for the death of a rosy vision that many of the people around us, people we know and love, never had the privilege of believing in. Now it’s time for us to stand in that discomfort and feel it. Really feel it. And think about it. And talk about it. Not just to each other, but to everyone. To other white people specifically.” Read more here.

On Third Day of Action to End Violence Against Women Living with HIV, PWN-USA Demands End to Criminalization & Other Forms of Structural Violence

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OCTOBER 21: Women with HIV simultaneously live with the effects of trauma resulting from interpersonal, community, and institutional violence. Studies have shown that the lifelong and compounding effects of these different forms of violence may have consequences far deadlier than the virus itself. October 23, Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN-USA), along with dozens of endorsing organizations, will observe our third Day of Action to End Violence Against Women Living with HIV, releasing a factsheet highlighting the many forms of violence impacting women living with HIV and their communities, with a special focus on criminalization, discriminatory law enforcement practices and other forms of

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Teresa Sullivan, PWN-USA Philadelphia Senior Member, displays city proclamation

structural violence, and to offer solutions and ways that government, institutions and organizations can help prevent and mitigate violence and trauma. We will also be hosting a Twitter chat Monday, Oct. 24, at 2 PM ET/11 AM PT to look at the promise of trauma-informed care for women living with HIV as a means to healing the trauma that is far too often a barrier to retention in care (follow the hashtags #pwnspeaks and #EndVAWHIV). Community events are also being held in various cities, and members in Philadelphia and Houston secured proclamations from their cities declaring October 23 the Day of Action to End Violence Against Women Living with HIV.

Laws criminalizing people living with HIV (PLHIV) disproportionately affect over-policed communities, including women of color (who make up 80% of the epidemic among women) and women of trans* experience. Harassment and brutality by police and law enforcement create hostile environments that perpetuate trauma in communities of color and other communities significantly impacted by HIV. Consequently, for the 2016 National Day of Action to End Violence Against Women Living with HIV, PWN-USA demands:
  • Repeal and reform of laws criminalizing HIV exposure, non-disclosure and transmission
  • An end to law enforcement practices that target communities disproportionately impacted by HIV, including people of trans and gender nonconforming experience (TGNC), sex workers, people who use drugs, immigrants, people who are unstably housed, people with mental illness, and communities of color
  • An end to stigmatizing and discriminatory interactions, methods of surveillance and brutalization of PLHIV and communities impacted by HIV at the hands of law enforcement
  • Elimination of barriers to safe, stable, and meaningful reintegration into the community for those returning home from jail and prison, those with criminal convictions, and the loved ones who support them.
PWN-USA called for the first Day of Action in 2014 in response to several high-profile murders of women following disclosure of their HIV status. Last year, community events were held in at least 18 cities, as well as a Twitter chat with 228 participants that reached 1.6 million people. 18 blog posts and statements were submitted by individuals and organizations in honor of the Day of Action. PWN-USA hopes this year’s day of action will continue to raise awareness, put forward solutions and mobilize advocates to push for meaningful change to end structural and institutional violence in the form of criminalization of our communities.
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Catch PWN-USA at AIDS 2016!

July 15, 2016: Members and staff of Positive Women’s Network – USA are representing US women living with HIV at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa all week! Whether you are in Durban or back home, you can follow us on Twitter and add your two cents by using the hashtags #PWNspeaks and #AIDS2016! 

THROUGHOUT AIDS 2016

Stop by the Common Threads exhibit booth in the Global Village – booth 418 to purchase handmade jewelry by US women living with HIV. 

The amazing Venita Ray, PWN-USA Board member is serving as a rapporteur for AIDS2016. Don’t miss her on Friday’s closing plenary! 

Follow us at #pwnspeaks #AIDS2016, WhatsApp us, or tweet us: @uspwn for real-time updates.

Here is where you will find us in Durban


bb2016textlogo400pxSUNDAY JULY 17

Beyond Blame pre-conference

9 AM – 5:30 PM
Blue Waters Hotel, 175 Snell Parade, Marine Parade, Durban

Register at Eventbrite

Beyond Blame @AIDS2016: Challenging HIV Criminalisation is a one day pre-conference for activists, advocates, healthcare professionals, lawyers, policymakers, and anyone else interested in working to end HIV criminalization. The meeting is being convened by HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE – comprising ARASACanadian HIV/AIDS Legal NetworkGNP+HIV Justice NetworkICWSero and PWN-USA – with local partner AIDS Legal Network, and in collaboration with UNAIDS and.UNDP. Keynote speaker: Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court.

Attendance at the event is free of charge but will require pre-registration.

Learn more here

Pre-Conference Plenary: No More Lip Service: Trans Access, Equity and Rights, Now! Sunday July 17,8:30-6:00pm ICC Session Room 7

Ford Foundation event: Challenging HIV Criminalisation Globally

Sunday July 17, 8:30-2:00pm, ICC Durban. PWN-USA HIV-Reproductive Justice Legal Fellow Arneta Rogers will speak at this invitation-only event

unnamedNothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS Film Screening

Sunday, July 17, 6:30 PM
Freedom Cafe, 43 St. Mary’s Ave., Durban

From New York to Nigeria, from Burundi to the American South, women on two continents have been at the forefront of the global AIDS movement for over 30 years. Unflinching in their fight for a place at the table, women have shaped grassroots groups like ACT UP in the US and played a vital role in HIV prevention and the treatment access movement throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Harriet Hirshorn’s documentary, Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS, tells the story of these unsung heroes through archival footage and interviews with activists, scientists, and scholars in the US and Africa. The film explores the unaddressed dynamics that keep women around the world at risk for HIV, while giving voice to the remarkable women who have solutions for ending this decades-old pandemic. The film also features PWN-USA member leaders! We hope you’ll join us for a screening of this inspiring film, followed by a discussion with director Harriet Hirshorn and guests.

RSVP here.

TUESDAY JULY 19

Beyond Blame: A Feminist Dialogue on Criminalisation of HIV Transmission, Exposure and Non-disclosure Leadership Workshop

Session Room 9
Tuesday, July 19, 2:30 – 5:00 PM

The law is a critical tool for creating an enabling environment for effective responses to HIV and to provide access to justice for those affected by HIV. This workshop examines the range of laws criminalizing exposure, transmission and/or non-disclosure, using feminist analysis to explore the role of power and inequality in their application.
Moderator: Michaela Clayton, Namibia
Co-Facilitator: Naina Khanna, United States
Co-Facilitator: Jacinta Nyachae, Kenya
Co-Facilitator: Cécile Kazatchkine, Canada

Learn more here.

WEDNESDAY JULY 20

RWP poster IAC eposterPoster session: Securing the Future of Women-Centered Care, a report by Positive Women’s Network – USA

Wednesday, July 2012:30-2:30 PM
Poster Exhibition Area

Check out the findings of a community-based participatory research project, led by 14 women living with HIV on what services WLHIV need to stay engaged in care–on an  8-foot poster!

THURSDAY JULY 21

were still hereWe’re Still Here Film Screening

Global Village Film Screening Room
Thursday, July 212:10-3:05 PM

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the unique experiences of people born with HIV have been siloed in the world of pediatric HIV care. Their stories often told by the people who watched them grow up. As this generation enters adulthood, it is more important than ever for those born with HIV to speak for themselves and to insert their stories into the history of HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, it is important for people born with HIV in different parts of the world to share their stories with each other and connect across borders. The film follows director and PWN-USA board member Grissel Granados as she embarks on her own journey to seek out other people who were born with HIV and create community where it had out existed before.