We are proud to announce the inaugural class of PWN-USA Policy Fellows! This inaugural program will build the policy leadership bench for women, including women of trans experience, directly impacted by the epidemic and historically underrepresented in the federal health policy advocacy arena. The program kicks off on April 7, 2017, when Fellows will embark on a yearlong training where they will develop skills in policy analysis, research, coalition and relationship building as emerging leaders in the field.
Thandi Harris (Bay Point, CA)
Thandi Harris is from Bay Point, California. She has a BS in biology, a Masters in Biomedical Science and also pursued medicine. She is proud to be a part of the 2017-2018 PWN fellowship. She knows there is a lot to learn and can’t wait get more involved in HIV advocacy.
Angela Hawkins (Houston, TX)
Angela F. Hawkins was diagnosed in September of 2012, after the death of her mother and of a beloved cousin, and a prolonged illness she believed was directly related to grief and stress from their loss. Angela met with barriers and stigma from private providers ignorant of Ryan White and HIV. Angry, frustrated, and still grieving, she fought to overcome these emotions by developing a zest for knowledge of the virus and related services available in Houston, Texas. At 52, Angela is a community advocate with a passion for educating and empowering people living with HIV (particularly women) to become the change they want to see.
Chunnika Hodges (Detroit, MI)
Chunnika L. Hodges is a single mother of three teenagers and one pre-tween! Chunnika was diagnosed September 14, 2005; shortly after became involved in the arena of HIV. She started out volunteering her time as a member of the Ryan White Part D Community Advisory Board for Michigan. After serving as a member for two years, she was nominated for chair. She was also active in the Positive Perspective Speakers’ Bureau for Michigan. From there, she left community outreach and advisory boards to become a service provider in the community as an Early Intervention Specialist for a local AIDS service organization, where she has worked for five years now.
Stacy Jennings (Columbia, SC)
Stacy Jennings is a 21 year survivor of HIV. In other words, HEAVEN is in her VIEW. She states that, “God is truly able.” The day Stacy was diagnosed in the year of 1995, she thought her life would be over; little did she know that what started out as a devastating diagnosis ended up being a blessing. She is able to speak up and speak out about her disease and is no longer ashamed. She has a 23-year-old son who is HIV-negative, and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy after 20 years in March of 2014. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it because of the tremendous amount of stigma that still exists within our community and in our world. In spite of it all, and because of it all, Stacy has chosen to live on and be all that she can be for the next person.
Stacy loves writing poetry and is inspired to write about all facets of life. She dreams of sharing her story to all that are inclined to hear because telling her story will allow her to continue to bring down this disease, allowing her to become a stronger woman because of it.
Andrea Johnson (San Antonio, TX)
Andrea Johnson is a mother, grandmother, passionate community activist, founder of GIRL U CAN DO IT, INC. (GUCDII), member of PWN-USA, the host of the bi-monthly social justice radio show Real R.A.P.P. Radio, the creator of the RED, WHITE & U HIV Anti-Stigma Photo Shoot and Campaign, and an honors college student. Additionally, she is associated with numerous national and international organizations helping to save lives from domestic violence, human sex trafficking and from acquiring HIV. She works full-time in corporate America and is a woman living with HIV, defining the quote “YOU ONLY STOP YOU.”
Shyronn Jones (Atlanta, GA)
A Brooklyn transplant in the capital of New York, Shyronn Jones began her advocacy lobbying legislators on HIV-related issues with politically influential Albany-based groups, driven by her own need for supportive services as an economically disadvantaged woman living with HIV. Though she practices different forms of advocacy, she prefers approaching legislators directly. While earning her business degree, she interned at the New York State Assembly, where she participated in the legislative process and was assigned to administrative responsibilities. Since joining PWN-USA, Shyronn has soared into leadership opportunities within and outside of PWN-USA and amplified key advocacy issues in national publications.
Shyronn has lived in Atlanta, Georgia, since 2013.
Kamaria Laffrey (Winter Haven, FL)
Kamaria’s advocacy extends national, state and local levels, as she has been working in the HIV field since 2007. Her passions in advocacy are issues that impact women and youth, the journey of treatment adherence, the modernization of outdated HIV specific laws, and eliminating stigma. In everything she is involved in, Kamaria hopes to always honor the lives of those lost to HIV/AIDS, as well as provide inspiration to others in the future to come out of the shadows of stigma. As a woman living with HIV, this is what she hopes her legacy will be.
Arianna Lint (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
National Board Member of PositivelyTrans, Arianna Lint is Executive Director of Arianna’s Center, a community-based organization that provides advocacy, education and training, case management and linkage to care for transgender men and women in Central and South Florida. A refugee from Lima, Peru, she is a Law and Political Sciences graduate of San Martín de Porres University (Lima-Peru), has spoken at dozens of trans and HIV-related conferences and is currently consulting for the White House’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy in 2015-2016, for CDC, HRC, and different universities. She is an outspoken advocate for transwomen and immigrants living with HIV and the needs of expanding PrEP access to the transgender community, working with SAVE org in HIV decriminalization. Arianna was in the list of the 100Poz 2,016 by POZ Magazine, Out 50 list by SFGN and many others Nationals awards, and recognitions, also she is one Spanish Blogger “Chicas Como Yo” from The Well Project. She is PLWHA from 2006 and has been undetectable for the past 10 years. https://www.wevideo.com/view/693295517
Tiommi Jenae Luckett (Philadelphia, PA)
Tiommi Luckett is a human rights activist with a global influence due to her blog with “A Girl Like Me” with The Well Project where she also is the Communications Coordinator and sits on the Community Advisory Board. Identifying as a Black, binary trans woman living with HIV, Luckett’s advocacy has evolved from deeply personal conditions to include the greater struggle of dismantling racism, anti-blackness, anti-trans attitudes and policies, xenophobia, misogyny, socioeconomic and systemic oppression.
Danielle Pleasant (Washington, DC)
Danielle is a Washingtonian, mother, grandmother, caregiver, advocate, entrepreneur and business owner, who has spent the last twenty-five years advocating and working with PLWH/A. She is committed to helping PLWH/A and their families navigate, access, and receive quality care. She has an extensive background in HIV, having worked in various positions, including involvement with various committees and media campaigns, to now serving as the Executive Director at START at Westminster. She credits her many skills, from grant writing to program design & implementation to business start-up, the result of her serving as Community Chair on the Planning Council.
Teresa Sullivan (Philadelphia, PA)
Teresa Sullivan’s area of expertise is in the intersection of HIV and incarceration. She is an African American woman raised in a strong military family. Teresa currently sits on the Wistar Institute BEAT HIV Delaney Community Advisory board, on the Board of Directors for Positive Women’s Network –USA and is senior member for PWN-USA Philadelphia chapter. As an adherence and mobilization navigator for NMAC, Teresa trains other people living with HIV/AIDS in how to begin a dialogue about treatment as prevention in their own communities. Teresa is also a graduate fellow of the renowned Black AIDS Institute, an African American Leadership HIV University. As a community organizer for the Support Center Prison Advocacy, Teresa spearheads outreach into communities most impacted by the crisis of mass imprisonment and helps organize neighborhood-level steering committees to address their area specific reentry needs.
Currently employed by Philadelphia FIGHT, Teresa is co-coordinator for its signature programs, TEACH Outside and Women TEACH. Both programs are five-week adult treatment education and activist training courses for HIV-positive persons recently released from prison and/or jails and other hard to reach communities. Teresa advocates for people living with HIV who are being detained in the Philadelphia Prison System. Upon their release, she helps link them into the life-saving services and resources they need for
a successful reintegration back into their communities.
Evany Turk (Dallas, TX)
Evany Turk is a current PWN-USA Board member and works as Program Coordinator for the Empowerment Program at the AIDS ARMS INC. in Dallas, TX. She is also a fierce advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Brandi Velasquez (Portland, OR)
Brandi Velasquez tested positive at 15 and understands how devastating it can be to receive a diagnosis without information and tools that are vital to thriving. Today, Brandi is a dedicated mother, wife, and advocate. She is a source of support for positive women as the Peer Mentor for Women of Wisdom Program at Quest. She conducts outreach to ensure women know there is support and community through WOW. Brandi sees the power of a positive community and believes no one should be left isolated. Brandi is a survivor and proof there is hope and endless possibility beyond a diagnosis.
Katie Willingham (Tuscumbia, AL)
Katie Adsila Willingham is a woman of trans experience living in rural northwest Alabama. She was diagnosed HIV positive in June of 2000, and has been a stay-at-home parent on disability ever since. As a client of Thrive Alabama, a wonderful HIV clinic in Huntsville, AL, she was fortunate enough to meet the awesome women of PWN at the Speak Up! Leadership Summit in September, 2016. She was inspired and knew she wanted to become more involved in her various communities. This desire has only been magnified by our current political environment. She has since joined the Consumer Advisory Board of Thrive Alabama and jumped at the chance to join PWN’s Policy Fellowship.
Her hope is to make this organization proud, be of valued assistance to Thrive Alabama and to serve her communities well.