June 26, 2017
by: Lepena Reid, PWN-USA Member
March 2012, was my introduction to Positive Women Network-USA, during the “Raising Our Voices” Summit which was held in Ft Walton Beach, FL, advocating for women living in the south. Not only was this being held during National Women’s History month, the dates were the 6th-8th, which combined Int’l Women’s Day and the birthday of the fierce Executive Director Naina Khanna. You felt that you were on the cutting edge of a movement, the synergy of every woman that was in attendance and presenting was on fire and fearless.
The flame inside continued to rise with my second gathering in Washington, DC during the IAC, which returned to the USA after a 23 year absence, thanks to our 44th President for lifting the ban.
As Positive Women Network-USA took to the streets for a march on Washington, the hundreds of women mobilizing “Raising Our Voices” demanding to no longer be silence, on a mission of change, chanting “all women all rights” was liberating.
In 2015, I had the opportunity to take part in a Community Based Participatory Research project (CBPR) conducted by PWN-USA, at first I felt inadequate but I have come to learn that being a member of PWN-USA will stretch you and remove you from your comfort zone, upon receiving more training about the process it was a project that I truly wanted to participate in. We were the members creating the materials designed by #WLHIV for #WLHIV, we were replacing academic practice and implementing peer to peer conversation, and the women were very engaging and willing to open up and talk about our needs for improved services. They all felt empowered knowing that the data would count them in, advancing policy changes and helping reduce health disparities. When we were asked to report on the results of the data in March of 2016 for #NWGHAAD and then informed that the poster presentation was being displayed internationally at the IAC in Durban, South Africa, we all were very elated to see how far a group effort could reach and the impact of collaboration.
Being a member of PWN-USA is a Call to Action, but feel assured that you will be highly trained and equipped with up to date knowledge and new breaking facts, that you receive in training sessions, working groups, on-line materials, social media and a support system that includes hundreds of fierce women from across the country, who envision a world free from stigma and discrimination.
On a lighter note, PWN-USA knows the importance that a delicious slice of cake has on soothing your soul!
Happy Birthday Positive Women Network –USA