Meet the 2018 Youth Initiative Scholars!

On behalf of NMAC and our funders – ViiV Healthcare, and collaborative partner Advocates for Youth, we are pleased to announce the 2018 Youth Initiative Scholars! This program empowers young leaders in the HIV community with leadership skills, as well as improves HIV and public health literacy to bring back and apply within their communities and organizations.

The 2017 Youth Initiative, now in its seventh year, brings together the next generation of leaders ages 18–25 (known as Youth Scholars) to participate in a seven-month, comprehensive program to help end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. As part of this program, Youth Scholars will gain opportunities to develop leadership, increase their knowledge, and build confidence while integrating key youth-specific messaging in local, state and national HIV/AIDS programs and advocacy agendas.

USCA 2018 LogoThe Youth Scholars will also attend the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA), held September 6-9 in Orlando, FL. During the conference, Youth Scholars will participate in sessions meant to advance their leadership skills, build confidence, and learn new ways to prioritize youth within HIV/AIDS programs and policies in their communities.

Congratulations to the following scholars for their acceptance into the 2018 Youth Initiative Program!

 

Raven Perry resides in Houston, TX. She has been a Community Health Worker working in HIV prevention and Fe for over a year. Prior to becoming a Community Health Worker, Raven was a student studying Health Science at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas where she was also a Peer Health Educator. She worked side by side with students on campus to advocate for important issues regarding student health and wellness. These issues included better access to STI testing, reducing stigma related to mental health, recognizing intimate partner violence, as well as many other important issues students in college face on a daily basis. Upon graduating, Raven became employed with Avenue 360 Health and Wellness as a Community Health Worker where she became trained in protocol-based counseling, HIV testing, and risk reduction for persons who are HIV negative, and those living with HIV. Raven also recognizes the importance of education as she teaches and facilitates monthly classes on women’s health and HIV at a women’s in-patient drug treatment facility, and facilitates an ‘HIV 101’ class at a Parole Office for persons who are recently released. While working at Avenue 360, Raven has become fiercely passionate about HIV prevention, education, and general sex education for youth of color. Therefore, she plans to take that passion, drive and hopes to learn on how to become a better advocate for those who are disproportionately affected and looks forward to participating in the 2018 Youth Initiative Program.

 

Jax Martin is a young and outspoken individual from West Palm Beach Florida and has a passion for serving those within the LGBT+ community. Jax served as the President of the Gay Straight Alliance at Boynton Beach Community High School. He attends and acts as a peer facilitator for Entourage, which is a young adult queer support group that meets at Compass, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Lake Worth. Since a young age, he has had a passion for HIV education prevention and treatment. Aspiring to work within the field, he volunteers in the HIV prevention department at Compass under the leadership of Dylan Brooks.  He feels a need to give back to the community that has given him so much. He looks up to Dylan heavily, and wants to make a difference in the community like his mentor. Jax excels in outreach and loves to talk to people and make connections, which has helped him within his aspiring career. He is very excited to be a part of the youth initiative!

 

 

Terrance Walker is a 23-year-old native of Houston, TX.  He currently resides in Oakland, CA where he serves as the Youth Activities Program Coordinator at AIDS Project of East Bay. His work in youth services began nearly six years ago as service recipient where Terrance worked to use his lived experiences to catalyze change within his community.  Now that he is a service provider he has the knowledge and resources to influence policy on a national level and a platform to effectively impact his peers. As an openly gay, black, millennial, he is passionate about the work that he does to educate LGBTQ youth of color about HIV prevention and care because he can see a piece of himself within each of them. Terrance believes that the only way to address stigma and confront misinformation is by initiating those uncomfortable conversations regarding sexual health with our young people without judgment or shame. He believes that we can work to end the HIV epidemic and someday reach an AIDS free generation if we work to foster a more harm reductive and sex positive culture for young people through education and empowerment.

 

Alixe Dittmore is a 24-year-old from California, who she grew up in northern Connecticut. She works as a Prevention Outreach Educator at AIDS Connecticut (ACT) in Hartford, CT and has been with ACT since January 2018. Her work is focused around HIV/STI education and prevention, as well as substance user health and harm reduction. She also in the process of being trained on HIV testing and counseling! Prior to her work at ACT, she was a student leader at the University of Connecticut focusing on harm reduction and sexual violence prevention. Alixe is now enrolled in the Applied Psychology Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on Victim Advocacy. She plans to continue her education with a concentration on the intersections of systems of oppression and public health. She believes that it’s absolutely vital to normalize conversations about the very real systemic oppression in our society against marginalized communities in order to adequately address the public health epidemic of HIV.

 

 

Donovan Carhuapoma is 21-years-old and considers himself to be a strong and uplifted individual. He was born and raised in Miami, Florida. His parents are from Lima, Peru. He has an older brother and a younger sister. He found growing up as the middle child to be pretty neat. During his early school years, he was shy and quiet, but as he got older he started coming out of his shell little by little. He started playing the flute at age 1, when he was in middle school. Playing his flute showed him what dedication and effort looked like meanwhile sparking a passion in him that is still present today. His high school years were filled with a lot of success academically, but also a ton of learning experiences that he holds close to him. He almost fell apart halfway into his high school career because he became overwhelmed with things that were not in his control. He is glad to say he overcame his tribulation and triumphed. He is a strong believer in being able to cope with things that happen in his life and in having the potential to achieve what he sets himself to do.

 

 

Kiman McIntosh is an 18-year old, first generation Jamaican-American boy, born and raised in Miami, Florida. Brought up by a single mother and a select group of her friends at a young age, he developed a love for the arts and indulged himself in sketching, mostly designing dresses. He is currently an amateur graphic and web designer. In retrospect, he would consider himself reserved and quiet to the extent that most of the people in his life never knew the sound of his voice until he was eight years old. As he grew older, he began to find the inklings of his voice while still battling the urge to remain silent due to his upbringing. He stands very firm in what he believes in and supports effective action. Kiman believes that he can be an activist and organizer because he has the passion to lead. Organizing is about mobilizing marginalized groups such as the HIV/AIDS community to disrupt and dismantle the stereotypes.

 

Jefferson (Jeff) Remo represents the state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i. He is a 23-year-old, Filipino-American, born and raised on the island of Oahu. He graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa with a degree in Public Health, where he found a passion for health equity and social justice. During his undergrad, Jeff was able to do PrEP-related research with the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research in Bangkok, Thailand. As a young researcher, he learned the importance of engaging and involving priority populations to create and implement effective evidence-based interventions. Now as the PrEP and STD Program Coordinator at the Hawai’i Health and Harm Reduction Center, the oldest and largest AIDS Service Organization in the state of Hawai’i, he works with priority populations in Honolulu to successfully access HIV biomedical interventions. Jeff also works alongside neighbor-island ASOs, Hawaii’s Department of Health, and other key stakeholders to eliminate the structural and social barriers that fuel the health-disparities with the populations he works with. He is excited to represent the state of Hawaii and be a voice for youth, Native Hawaiians, Asians, and other Pacific Islanders in NMAC’s 2018 Youth Initiative.

 

Alfredo Flores is a proud Queer Latinx from the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Alfredo recently completed his Associates in Science and is eager to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Alfredo is currently a Care Coordinator at Chicago House & Social Service Agency where he assists individuals that are newly diagnosed with HIV and those that are not in care by linking them to a permanent medical home. In his prior work experience, he has been an HIV Tester and also facilitated a Center for Disease Control (CDC) intervention called Mpowerment. Aside from his required job duties, Alfredo has organized large scale events for local agencies that include community mixers, fashion shows, fundraisers and social events. Alfredo has also been featured in a national campaign called #DoingIt/Haciendolo by Act Against AIDS. Alfredo’s commitment to the field has been shaped by working with those most vulnerable to HIV, especially working with those who are Latinx, undocumented and those who are monolingual Spanish speaking. He hopes to continue being a resource for those most vulnerable and empowering them to speak their truth without fear.

 

Jai Lei Yee (pronouns he, they, ze/zir) is a 25-year-old, a queer aromantic asexual, a nonbinary genderfluid person, and a 1.5 generation Chinese-American. They consider the San Francisco East Bay their home since they grew up in Oakland and San Leandro. They have a B.A. in Gender and Women’s Studies, and Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies with an LGBT minor from UC Berkeley. Before 2012, they had never heard of PrEP and had never saw themselves represented in conversations about HIV prevention as a young queer Asian American trans person. In 2012, their queer man of color counselor told them about PrEP.  It was in their current role as a PrEP Navigator at the San Francisco Community Health Center that they realized how barriers such as stigma against people who take PrEP and lack of community dialogue about PrEP limit its use in queer and trans people of color. They are honored to be a recipient of the 2018 NMAC Youth Initiative and strive to learn from their peers and from people in different generations. When not working, they are part of different artistic workshops focused on queer and trans people of color where they learn new things.

 

Reginald Ford is a senior at Old Dominion University, majoring in Business Administration and looking to pursue his master’s degree in Business Administration and Communications in 2020. He is a full-time Graphic Design & Events Manager for a local non-profit in Virginia and owns a creative design company. Reginald has an extensive background in graphic design, special events, fundraising, and marketing. Through the many successes in his life, he has also had some life-changing experiences. Through these experiences, it has led him to his passion for helping students to continue towards post-secondary education, fighting to spread awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and graphic designing. This opportunity with NMAC will allow him to help advocate for those living with HIV/AIDS and to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Also, this program will allow Reginald to grow as an individual and to continue to help drive his community to become more inclusive and aware.

 

 

 

Justice Long is an openly HIV positive, pansexual, two spirited individual currently living in Jacksonville, FL. They found out they were HIV positive at the age of 16. Shortly after their diagnosis, they became affiliated with a local organization that helped them to identify the emotions they were feeling and taught them how to cope with these emotions in a positive manner. The organization also helped Justice to mold their voice and realize that there are others out there who are either going through or went through the same situation or worse than them. By sharing their story, they could not only help those people but also save others at the same time. Since then they have traveled the country doing speaking engagements, campaigns, panels, and group discussions regarding not only HIV/AIDs but also LGBTQ rights, youth empowerment, incarceration, mental health, homelessness, and suicide, as well as policy reform and cultural/linguistic competency. Their motto is, “if you’re not infected, you’re affected. If you’re affected, you’re effected. So why not stand for a cause that infects everyone affected with effectiveness.” #ActualReality #ActUp #EndAids

 

 

Maliek Yuseef Powell is an American, community activist, writer, and visionary from Birmingham, Alabama. He was born on July 12, 1992. He started his activism journey, specifically of HIV and mens health issues, in 2012 when he tested HIV positive with an AIDS diagnoses. Maliek was nineteen years old and attending a local community college majoring in radio and television broadcasting at the time. Eventually dropping out, and secretly falling into a state of depression, he found himself on a mission to learn as much as he could about his new ailment. Maliek started a personal research of his own by finding and connecting with HIV positive individuals though social media. In 2013, nearly a year to the date he tested positive, he made a post to his personal social media outlets disclosing his HIV positive status to many of his friends, family, and followers. Since then he has worked with many local and national organizations that specialize in the fight against AIDS. His mission is to always to bring a current view into HIV, while shifting the stigma that surrounds the epidemic, and amplifying the conversations we all have when it comes not only to HIV/AIDS but all men health disparities.

 

Gregory Meredith was born and raised in Southeast, Washington D.C. to Diana Shelton and Gregory S. Meredith on February 14, 1998. He experienced hardship at an early age after the passing of both his mother and father, which brought him closer to God and his Grandmother. Despite of his childhood tragedy, Gregory was persistent with maintaining and excelling in his educational career goals. He received his high school diploma from Washington Mathematics Science Technology, PCHS where he transferred from Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Gregory currently serves as a Health Impact Specialist with the DC Department of Health, partnering and collaborating with local community based organizations with health screenings, outreach activities and conference trainings to better serve his community. His most prominent achievement is his recent collaboration with Us Helping Us, People Into Living Inc. (UHUPIL), Washington D.C.’s largest Black HIV/AIDS organization. While working with UHUPIL, Gregory’s passion grew for helping people and ending the stigma that comes with the HIV epidemic. Gregory plans to continue his journey as a Public Health Worker and strives to make a change in his community and the communities around him.

 

Darriyhan Edmond is a 23-year-old young, gay, black man born and raised in Gary, Indiana. Darriyhan has always been involved with his community, he loves helping to build, uplift, and support others. He knew that his purpose in life was to be a positive figure within his community. On November 13 of 2013, at the age of 18, he was diagnosed with HIV. After being diagnosed with HIV, he took the time to educate himself on HIV, prevention, care and treatment. With the knowledge he gained he began to share it with family and close friends. He loved the feeling he got from sharing that information; 3 months into living with HIV, he decided to become an HIV advocate and dedicate himself to bringing HIV awareness to his community and to help fight the stigma surrounding HIV. His favorite quote is, “The fears we don’t face becomes our limits”. He is a strong believer in the fact you can become whatever you set yourself out to be and HIV should not hinder you from accomplishing your goals. In 2016, he decided to leave Gary and move to Atlanta, GA where he continued his involvement in the community with HIV. Darriyhan is a member of the 2018 Build-A-Brother-Institute of NAESM, as well as a participant in the NMAC’s BYLOC (Building Young Leaders of Color) program. He is currently the founder and project director of Project RED Paint, a project he started to help provide support, empowerment, knowledge, and acceptance to individuals living with or affected by HIV. By participating in the Youth’s Initiative program of 2018, he hopes to gain additional knowledge about HIV and the opportunity to meet and connect with other HIV advocates. He is excited to attend USCA for the first time this year.

 

Ariel Sabillon was born in Honduras. At the age of ten, he relocated to South Florida due to poverty and violence in his hometown. He was diagnosed as HIV+ during his junior year of high school. Now in college, Ariel is the president of student-run organization Advocates for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Ariel is an advocate for young people living with HIV and for immigrants – particularly Central American immigrants. He seeks to challenge the ways in which we view national identity – opting instead to look beyond borders and reach out to a more global community. As part of the FL HIV Justice Coalition, he wishes to modernize laws regarding that criminalize HIV “exposure” in the state of Florida.

 

 

Jordan Delfyette is from Brooklyn, New York. Growing up as a child, he really didn’t have an idea who he wanted to be, but he knew what he wanted to do and that was to help people. Being raised by his grandmother and watching her be a caretaker to her mother, 14 siblings, nieces and nephews and at work. He watched her do what he thought was the impossible in helping people. Jordan didn’t know that he would grow up to share those same characteristics. Watching her taught him to carry compassion, patience, and love. Through the art of writing he could verbally express his deep thoughts and emotions on paper which he used to captivate his audience. “Dialogue became my healing as well as healing for others”. In his free time, he practices the art of dance which became an outlet for his mental, emotional, and spiritual being.

 

 

Marnina Miller is a Michigan native currently residing in Houston, Texas. She fell in love with activism after joining Positive Organizing Project, amovement that trains people living with HIV on how to become effective HIV activists. This out and proud, Black queer young woman facilitates trainings on anti-stigmatizing language, effective leadership, sex positivity, and community organizing. At Positive Women’s Network-USA, she is a 2018 Public Policy Fellow, and a member of the Strategic Communications Action team. Marnina is a youth ambassador for Youth Across Borders where she spent time at Montaña de Luz, orphanage for children living with HIV in Honduras. She is also the Co-Chair for the Texans Living with HIV Network, and a recipient of the Violet Award, which recognizes LGBT advocates in Houston. She is also the graduate of the inaugural Building Young Leaders of Color (BYLOC) leadership training. Marnina is also a feature writer for the international online publication Life and Love with HIV where she is dismantling the stigma of women; developing, maintaining, and pursuing a healthy sex life one blog post at a time.

 

 

Hailing from the City of Atlanta, Jamaan Parker is no stranger to the field of HIV. Since his positive status diagnosis in 2014, Jamaan has worked diligently to create communities and environments that are POZ-friendly and incorporative. Mr. Parker began his HIV journey as a political advocate working with Georgia Equality as a YHPA (Youth HIV Policy Advisor). In this capacity, Jamaan worked with Georgia politicians and other elected officials to develop laws and policies that considered the daily struggles of people living with HIV. He believes that to effectively create policies and laws for people living with HIV, people living with HIV must be involved in the law-making process. He has taken a brief hiatus from advocacy, but continues to work with politicians and elected officials. Mr. Parker has found a new passion as a HIV Outreach Specialist. Jamaan provides HIV and Sexual Health Education, STI & STD Prevention, and Community Outreach. In his spare time, he is a part of a social movement called The He Is Valuable Project which reinforces and mobilizes the power of Black and Latino Queer men within all communities to address the HIV epidemic and the social injustices PWLWHA face. As a youth leader, Parker emphasizes that the youth should be at the forefront of the HIV epidemic. The youth’s voice is the change we need to shift the paradigm of HIV in America. Youth have the innovation and the ideas to reach goals in HIV that were never possible. However, there are very few resources and opportunities for self-development for Black and Latino POZ youth to be leaders in the community.  Jamaan Parker works to develop programming to educate and build Black and Latino youth leaders to be voices in the HIV community. Jamaan prides himself on self-development and gathering knowledge with the intent of disseminating that knowledge, information and resources with the hopes of community betterment.

 

Trevoy Johnson is a young emerging leader from the city of Chicago, IL. At an early age, he has been marked and known for having desire to know and do more. Johnson is an upcoming, all-around creative, having performed in numerous concerts, recordings, theatrical productions, and tours. A current Business Administration student of Robert Morris University, Johnson has worked to increase in education regarding leadership and the development of leaders. These aspirations have given Johnson keen discernment for the potential placed in others and the passion to see those potentials maximized. Johnson is also an active member of the Consumer Advisory Board at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center in Chicago, IL. He has also been a participant of PreP awareness programs and studies through the University of Chicago since 2016. Aspiring to achieve his doctorates in Leadership, Trevoy Johnson is a dedicated to use creative arts and education to bring about knowledge, opportunities, training, and ultimately impactful results to his generation and generations to come.

 

 

 

Lisa Watkins is a youth advocate located in Memphis, Tennessee. She is 23-years-young and enjoys what she does. She is currently breaking from LeMoyne-Owen College where she is a second-year student majoring in Sociology with a minor in Psychology.  She is involved in many different organizations and groups such as AIDSWatch2016, Youth Leadership Initiative Memphis, Scale It Up! National YCAB, Nashville HIV Day on the Hill and a plethora of others. She has been honored and given the opportunity to join a few of the NMAC (National Minority Aids Council) Youth Scholar programs such as BYLOC (Building Youth Leaders of Color) and Youth Initiative. In her short years as an advocate, she has been asked to participate in magazine articles and also speak on her experience as a person living with HIV on a handful of panels and events. Lisa found this journey to stand for the causes such as HIV, suicide, and reproductive health and justice as a youth advocate is far from easy and will test your patience and ability at all times. Her role as a youth impacted by these causes is to use her voice to encourage other youth to use their own. She believes in raising awareness not only for the causes she stands for but to show elders that youth are still here, and they are important to include in the decisions made on their behalf. She plans to achieve a stronger bond with her peers and create a safe environment where youth aren’t scared to walk in their truth and make a change.

 

Representing Daly City, California, Julius Pikes-Prince is someone who brings all the sass and class! He’s currently majoring in fashion design. Julius would like to break the barriers in the fashion industry with his unique style. He wants to use his platform to help end the HIV and AIDS epidemic. His dedication to putting the end to the epidemic has led to him becoming a peer ambassador at LYRIC (Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center, a San Francisco queer youth resource center). As a peer ambassador Julius helps provide PrEP education to youth in his community. He has become a powerful leader in San Francisco. His work in the community is unbelievable! He looks up to the late Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk has become one of his inspiration in life. Harvey has shaped the leader that Julius is today. In the near future, Julius would like to open his very own queer resource center for the youth. He would like to give back to the youth in his community and providing the services they need.

 

All of Corey Clark’s life, pain and pleasure has been one in the same; not in the aspect of enjoyment of being hurt, but the idea that there’s purpose in his journey. At the age of 13, he lost his mother, which was the catalyst for his transition to Milwaukee, Wi. from Greenville, Ms. If you know anything about either of the two places you may have a better idea of how “exciting & spontaneous” his life is.  At a young age, he became numb to violence and over time taught himself that he wasn’t meant to be loved. He discovered he was HIV positive at the age of seventeen, but not ever hearing of HIV he didn’t fully understand what his life meant at that point. After being exposed to the stigmas of HIV received from family, friends, and other close forms of relationships Corey quickly became aware of more than the possibility of AIDs. Some may look at this as a weird way of looking at it, but he believes that his numbness to certain things made it easier to deal with the following events: cultural stigma around being positive; being neglected by his support systems, experiencing homelessness, suicide attempts by putting himself in harms ways; developing alcoholic tendencies, depression, sex addiction, sex work and more. His only proclaimed privilege in those times was hi want and willingness to make meaning of the term life. In September of 2017, He attended the United States Conference on HIV/Aids where he was a participant of the Youth Initiative and he began a journey of entrepreneurship and self- discovery.

Not listed: Matthew Rodriguez-Thacker and Corie Easley*

 

Returning Scholars 2017

Tapakorn Prasertsith (pronouns: they/them/theirs) is a non-binary, 2nd generation Thai person living in the San Francisco Bay Area. They moved there to pursue the tech industry, but found a need elsewhere, in the marginalization and disparities in the cities, particularly with LGBT people of color and transgender communities. After volunteering at Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center as an HIV Counselor, they were offered a position to start their PrEP program. Since then, Tapakorn has become the Program Supervisor for HIV Prevention for the same agency, re-branded now to San Francisco Community Health Center. They are honored to be a returning scholar this year and to be able to share their experience working with priority populations in Getting-to-Zero. In Tapakorn’s spare time, they compete in volleyball and video game tournaments, working within a niche community of “gaymers” to further HIV education, prevention, and treatment appropriate to where youth gather nowadays.

 

 

 

Tobeya Ibitayo is a Capacity Building Specialist at AIDS United working with the Getting to Zero Initiative. He brings experience in qualitative research, direct client service, and curriculum design and implementation. Previously, Tobeya was a Federal Insurance Navigator at the Missouri-based nonprofit, Saint Louis Effort for AIDS, where he provided health insurance literacy education and enrollment services through a state-wide network of service organizations and clinics. He has also served as a Teach For America corps member in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and as a math instructor with Blueprint Schools Network in East Saint Louis, Illinois. Tobeya received a BA in Anthropology and African & African American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.

 

 

 

 

Jessica Zyrie is a black transgender model, advocate and the first transgender female clinical case manager at the Montrose Center. Jessica has used her platform to advocate for equality across the intersectionality of race and gender identity. Jessica Zyrie became public with her transition in October 2016 and has used her publicity to increase visibility and education for the community. She has advocated with local, state, and national organizations including, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Equality Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas, Center for Disease Control, Gilead, Houston Health Department and has been featured internationally on Google Pride’s 2017 Campaign #IShowUp. Jessica has attended city wide events to address the mayor and council and has traveled to the capital for lobby days.  She has worked with many designers throughout the nation and has been published in countless magazines. She has been featured in online fashion editorials for major magazines including Essence, Elle, and Marie Claire magazines. Jessica Zyrie is motivated by the communities she belongs to, works with, and other communities facing discrimination and stigma. Her hope is to continue to inspire people to live in their truth, whatever realm that may fall in, because there is only one life and every individual deserves to live their life’s entirety, in truth, happiness, safety, and free from stigma.

 

In 2013, Kyle Rodriguez was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 18. Instead of letting the virus define him, he defined it. Shortly after becoming a client of AIDS Project New Haven (APNH), he became a volunteer offering support and information to young MSM in his community – regardless of their HIV status. Kyle’s passion for APNH and the fight against HIV allowed him to become employed full-time as an MPowerment Coordinator. Now, he is responsible for creating a more inclusive, healthier LGBTQ+ community through social activities, forums, and educational workshops surrounding HIV prevention and other relevant topics.

An integral part of Kyle’s personal and professional life is building flourishing relationships. Professionally, he has partnered with doctors, The New Haven Pride Center, and other grassroots LGBTQ+-focused organizations to raise awareness about HIV. His dedication for public health has led him to international levels. In addition to attending the 2018 BYLOC training and the 2017 Youth Initiative Program, Kyle has traveled to Honduras for a week-long, cross-cultural service trip at an HIV orphanage. In the fall, he will attend UConn as a double major in Public Health and Anthropology. When Kyle is not advocating, he likes to spend time with loved ones, hike, and exercise.

 

Danne’ Hughes is a young woman fighting to eliminate the alarming statistics that women and women of color face every day regarding HIV/AIDS. Although Danne’ is not HIV positive she, like many other women live, work, play and most importantly advocate within the HIV Positive and Negative community. Warriors who identify as HIV+ have taught Danne’ to always own your true self and to not apologize for who you are and what you represent. As a returning scholar, this is truly an honor for Danne’ as she is learning how to advocate for young women just like her. It has been a journey for her as she has to adapt to being vulnerable and tenacious while giving her all day by day striving for continuous improvement within the statistics. Currently occupying a position as a Health Educator, Danne’ has the pleasure of educating youth much like herself on how to prevent the spread of HIV. As a full-time mother, educator and student, Danne’s main goal is to spread the word and insure that HIV awareness becomes common knowledge in a way that is relatable, easy to understand and fun for everyone!

 

 

Special Note: Standard Registration for USCA ends on Friday, August 10, 2018. For more information about this and all of the conference’s registration rates visit the USCA registration page: here