Hey, everyone! I’m blogging from the National HIV Prevention Conference in Hotlanta. I arrived on Sunday afternoon and have been on a nonstop quest to gain knowledge and make connections. It’s been great to meet folks that I only previously knew from Twitter, reconnect with individuals that I’ve met at past conferences, and introduce myself (and Red Pump) to a whole new set of people.
There are over 3,000 people attending this conference and each session is packed with so many lessons to learn. Today, one of the presenters said, “We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for,” and it has been playing over and over in my head all day. I remember when then Senator Obama made this statement on the campaign trail. It stuck with me because it reminded me that I have to be the change that I want to see in the world. These days, it’s too easy to sit back and complain about the conditions of your job, your neighborhood, the schools, and more. Trust me, I feel the same pressure. But, every time that I open my mouth to say something negative, I think about what I can do to make a difference – big or small.
To me, that’s the power of this conference and what inspires me about all of the attendees, panelists, volunteers, and more. Yes, HIV/AIDS is a devastating disease disproportionately affecting high-risk communities. And yes, funding for prevention and treatment continues to get cut but we aren’t going to let that stop us or discourage us in this fight against HIV/AIDS.
All 3,000+ of us are here because we believe that we are the ones that we’ve been waiting on. Some of us are new on this journey and others have been fighting this fight since before my time. Yet, we are united by passion and being guided by purpose. I’m looking forward to the rest of this conference and seeing where this path leads. Stay tuned.