|The other other city|
|Written by Kwaku|
|20 September 2010|
Last week I was at the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) hosted by the National AIDS Minority Council. This is a predominantly Black conference and I had attended the conference in 2006 and was blown away. In Canada, a yearly national HIV/AIDS conference with primarily African/Black PHAs, researchers, service providers, civil society representatives, policymakers and artists does not exist. Yet. The incredible sense of unity at USCA was truly inspirational and invigorating; seeing and hearing so many people of color contributing to their communities filled me with hope.
Mobilizing the diverse communities of African and Black populations in the Diaspora around HIV and AIDS comes with its own unique sets of challenges and opportunities. I had the opportunity to faciliate a session on developing world epidemics in the developed world and participants generated interesting dialouges regarding the missing stories of Black/African migrants not only in the conference, but in their own work. Finding ways to unify the struggles of the African-American HIV expereince with the African migrant HIV experience is critical to the work of ABDGN.
A powerful documentary entitled "The Other City" about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington DC was screened at USCA and i cried. and cried. and cried. But through the tears I couldnt help but notice that the other other city was missing. The context of HIV/AIDS for Black migrants in DC was not discussed in the film, and would likely tell stories of even greater struggle for accessing services, medications, stable housing, employment, and other determinants of health that decrease vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. I have included the trailer to the film below. I strongly encourage you to find out how and where you can see this documentary, and use it as a tool to spark your own discussions about the voice of Black/African migrants in the broader national dialogues in the United States regarding HIV/AIDS.
We are the ones we have been waiting for,