On Monday May 6, 2019, I attended the AIDS Summit in New York City. This was my first time attending and I was not sure what to expect. I enjoyed the AIDS Summit and appreciated the opportunity to meet new people. I listened and learned from powerful courageous women who told their stories and shared how they are HIV positive. I also enjoyed hearing from a group of Hispanic women who told their stories through their recipe books and shared their struggles of immigrating to the United States for a better life. I learned a lot from the doctor who provided important information about the history of HIV/AIDS. I hope that next year I will be able to bring my female students to the AIDS. Summit because it is a very informative event. I thank you Ms. Audria, for inviting me.
We often talk about how Iris House's prevention and outreach teams are out and about: in 2016, we delivered high-touch HIV101 and Prevention Interventions to nearly 700 people and provided 2200 individuals with HIV, Hepatitis C and STI testing. But that doesn't even come close to counting the thousands of people we interact with in health fairs, street fairs and other events.
June is a particularly busy month in the field for Iris House, and our teams appeared in full purple and orange at Queens Pride, Brooklyn Pride, the Bronx Borough President's Pride Celebration, NYC's Pride March, NYC Pride Fest, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and Folsom Street East. Special mention to our team members Antionettea Etienne and Leroy S., whose presence in any Pride Celebration brings cheers of welcome and recognition -- for both them and Iris House!
This year, we were especially delighted to be selected this year as beneficiaries of not only Folsom Street East, but also of a pre-FSE party thrown by the Bully Boyz at the New York Eagle.
Iris House's team is working to End the Epidemic! Like us to join you at your health fair or event? Contact Ken at (646) 548-0100 x303. Like to table with us on September 16 (in NJ) or September 30 (in NYC) for our own Community Health Fair? Contact Michael at (646) 548-0100 x222.
For the community, in the community, of the community: it’s been an exciting spring at Iris House and you’ve probably been around to see some of it! In addition to the new outreach programs you’ve read about on page one, May was a flurry of activity, and we are exhausted (in a great way!)
On May 1st, we had our 8th collaborative fundraiser with celebrity stylist Christo, of Christo Fifth Avenue and Curlisto. He’s been an amazing supporter of ours for over a decade, and we are deeply grateful to him for his ongoing support. This year we tried something new and ventured to a rooftop event space in midtown, The Attic! With friends from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington DC in attendance, we got to celebrate the beginning of our 25th Anniversary Year. It’s hard to believe, but Iris House began its life in 1992 and began delivering services to the East Harlem community in 1993. We will be commemorating our Anniversary with a special project next Spring: be sure to watch out for it!
On Monday, May 8th, we produced the 12th annual Women as the Face of AIDS Summit, and this year with the theme “Resilient, Fierce and Wise,” we offered a challenge to our community to come together in strength and wisdom, stand up for themselves and help advocate for each other. We are all concerned about Ending the Epidemic, and the news from our
Federal Government gets grimmer and grimmer each week. One of our lessons is that we need to come together as a single community: people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions and our allies, families and friends and fight for our needs. We all have to rally together, to stand and protest, to call our representatives and to make our voices heard. We hope this year’s Summit brought some inspiration to you. Though we had to postpone our May 13th Health Fair (to September 30, join us then!), we were out on the route at AIDS Walk New York (and breaking our team’s record with over $14,000 raised!)
We continue to sit on and take leadership roles in NY State End the Epidemic workgroups and the New Jersey HIV Planning Group to ensure that our voices — and in particular the voices of women of color — are actively part of the conversations.
As I write this, we’re into June, which is Pride Month here in NYC and our prevention and outreach teams will be all over the City helping people to know their status, get connected to care and have greater independence over their lives!
Ingrid Floyd, Executive Director
Post by Guest Blogger Anne Forbes