Next week, I’ll be joining other young AIDS activists from across the nation (and world!) to lead them in a week-long training about advocacy and activism techniques. I attended the Youth Action Institute (YAI) last year in Albuquerque, NM. The YAI is an annual activity of the Youth Caucus of the Campaign to End AIDS. Last year, we learned various activism and advocacy techniques, and designed a project to carry out in our hometowns. My project was with the HIV/AIDS Resource Center (HARC), making an advocacy program on a state-wide level. There are still a couple things to do with the program, as far as state-wide activities are concerned, but these things take time. I believe that advocacy and activism are important parts of public health, but often some of the most underrepresented areas.
Since last year’s YAI, I’ve been working with a planning team of 6 youth from Deleware, New York, Ohio, North Carolina and Puerto Rico to plan this year’s YAI, which will be in Oakland, California. We really want to have a lot of community involvement in this year’s institute, so we have been working with a frew orgnizations in the Bay Area to get ready for the YAI. We’re also adding a new session on social media, discussing ways to use social networking sites, blogs, videos, collaborative media production, etc. to organize.
C2EA is an international association of people who believe that we already have what it takes to end AIDS and that we just need to prioritize it. Since we don’t yet have a cure or vaccine for HIV, we need to focus on prevention and access to treatment. Housing is another major focus of the C2EA, as well as making sure that globally, organizations have what they need to do their good work. I’m very excited to meet the new participants next week, and to see how our year of planning turns out! You can follow us on Twitter or read our fledgling blog here.