It is officially that time of year! It is that time of year when I make an announcement about Arts 4 Action, and I invite you to attend a spectacular evening of arts, music, fashion and everything nice to educate about and raise funds for HIV. It is what we have done historically for the past eleven-years. Each year, a different theme, and in the lead-up to this kaleidoscopic whirlwind night of arts, we run a unique arts mentorship through which graphic design students and new grads across Alberta are mentored by women living with HIV.
It is that time of year to share stories that challenge stigma and discrimination.
In many ways, Ribbon Rouge is a story about my growth, a retelling of some of my most painful life experiences… a way to understand difficulties that I have lived through … a way to give these difficulties meaning. It began with a sensitization to people living with HIV in Nigeria, grew in a deep empathy with women enduring gender-based violence and now into a rediscovery beyond self of my African identity. We are still evolving.
This video explains this evolution well.
Instead of the Arts 4 Action benefit, we are listening.
Instead, we will listen to diverse African communities in Alberta with the intention of mobilizing these communities towards co-creating positive social change. I invite you to Take Action with us, by volunteering. Our growing Listening Campaign team is a province-wide team of collaborators including: community organizers, black community leaders, academics, artists, policymakers, media, businesses and other non-government stakeholders, health and social care providers. In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more about this campaign including various philosophical twists and turns in the journey that brought us here.
Thank you for walking with us.