On behalf of NMAC and our funders –we are pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of the Reclaiming Our Place at the Table program!
Given the President’s announcement during the annual State of the Union address of the Federal Plan to End the HIV Epidemic and the initial investment of an additional $291 Million dollars in his FY20 Budget Request, it is imperative that the voices of people of color living with and affected by HIV are heard. More importantly, people of color living with and affected by HIV must participate in the planning and implementation of local jurisdiction’s plans to end the epidemic. NMAC is proposing that our community influence end the HIV epidemic (EtHE) work in two ways:
NMAC decided to leverage its strength as a convening and training powerhouse to empower and educate individuals who are reflective of the HIV epidemic to actively influence the local end the HIV epidemic planning efforts and secure additional federal resources.
The goals of the “Reclaiming Our Place at the Table” program are to:
- Create a cadre of HIV Advocates who influence federal funding allocation and policies to bend the curve of new HIV infections, retain people of color living with HIV in care, as well as increase healthcare access and utilization for people of color who are living with, affected by and at risk for HIV.
- Raise the issue of race and elevate the concerns of people of color who are living with, affected by and at risk for HIV.
To accomplish these goals, our “Reclaiming Our Place at the Table” advocates shall participate in:
- In-Person TOT Training: September 2019 (USCA September 5-8)
- In-District Congressional Site Visits: October 2019 (House and Senate on Recess between September 30th and October 14th)
- Follow-up Webinar: November 2019
- Virtual Advocacy Day: World AIDS Day 2019 (December 1, 2019)
Congratulations to the following advocates for their acceptance into the inaugural cohort of the Reclaiming Our Place at the Table program:
Alexis Powell (Baton Rouge Parrish, Louisiana)
Alexis Powell is a 38-year-old FIERCE transgender woman that is currently not only living with but also thriving with HIV, diagnosed in 2004 and is doing very well. On December 12, 2015, she became the first Trans Woman to get married in the State of Louisiana and is the mother of a truly amazing 7-year-old son, Isayah Augustine. She is employed as a Consumer/Peer Advocate with HAART Baton Rouge as part of the Minority Aids Initiative and has been employed with the agency since 2015. She goes to great lengths to advocate for all clients so they can receive the services they need, making sure that there are no barriers to getting into and staying in care so they can thrive and live a healthy and full life. She loves helping anyone diagnosed with HIV, but of course, the Transgender Community is near and dear to her heart. Because of this, she is a facilitator for VOAGBR’s Transgender Focus Group, a member of the Transgender Law Center, a national board member for Transgender Advocates, and graduate of NMAC’s Building Leaders of Color Program. Her aspirations are to take what she learns and use it to become a better motivational speaker and educator, as well as being able to put herself out into the community more and use the smaller platforms to move to bigger platforms to educate and motivate more people.
Cesar Cadabes (San Francisco County, California)
Cesar Cadabes was born and raised in Hawaii. Living with HIV since 1989, he has worked in HIV/AIDS for over 25 years; In San Francisco as an Associate Director of Intervention Support at the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center, in Los Angeles as the Program Coordinator of HIV Education and Prevention Programs at the City of Pasadena Public Health Department and in Hawaii as the Executive Director of the Kauai AIDS Project. Currently, he is at the University of California-San Francisco. He was also part of the cohort in NMAC’s Building Leadership of Color (BLOC) program. In addition to his HIV work and advocacy, Cesar is also a writer, performance artist and Artistic Director for the GAPA (Gay Asian Pacific Alliance) Theatre collective.
Efrain “Fredy” Roberts-Ramirez (Cook County, Illinois)
Fredy Roberts-Ramirez currently serves as the TGNC Youth HIV Prevention Program Manager BKA VOICES Program Manager. I have been working in the HIV Prevention Field since 2007, where I started off as a Social Networks recruiter because of my popularity in doing drag in Milwaukee, WI. Currently I am the TGNC Youth HIV Prevention Program Manager also known as the VOICES project at the Broadway Youth Center, a program of Howard Brown Health for the last 2 years. At Howard Brown Health, I work every day to create safe spaces, programming and help dismantle systems that cause barriers for Trans and gender Non-Conforming Youth to make sure they are able to lead safe, fruitful and visible lives. I have been a part of various leadership programs such as the Wisconsin Leadership Fellowship for People of Color, Illinois Getting to Zero Campaign, Howard Brown Leadership Fellowship and now the NMAC Reclaiming Our Place at the Table- A NMAC Policy & Advocacy Program. I dedicate myself to make sure I utilize my platform to speak up on various issues that surround LGBTQIA people and especially Trans and Gender Non-conforming people of color.
Evonne Kaho (Jackson, Mississippi)
Evonné Kaho is a transgendered spiritual activist and educator. As a Black Trans woman and survivor of domestic violence, Evonné struggles everyday against intolerance, pain and injustice with an open heart. She holds a B.A. degree from Alcon State University and a Master’s in Business Administration,Technology and Management, from the University of Phoenix. Evonné is the founder and CEO of the first Black Transgender nonprofit in the state of Mississippi, Love Me Unlimited 4 Life, an interdisciplinary organization that offers resources, education, counseling and support to Mississippi’s LGBTQ community and those living with HIV.
She serves on the National Advisory Board of Positively Trans, a project of the Transgender Law Center, the Jackson MS Medical Mall HIV Planing Committee, Positive Women’s Network, Mississippi State Lead and is a co-founder and active member of SHERO, (Sister’s Helping Every woman Rise and Organize), and mother of a teenage daughter.
Evonné’s latest labor of love is materializing as she is in the process of establishing a shelter for LGBTQ and HIV positive youth and adults affectionately named, Evonné 4EverCaring.
Kim Watson (Bronx, New York)
Kim Watson is the Founder of an up and new establishment called The The Modern Day Woman Foundation LLC which is a foundation headed by renowned Trans Activist, Spokesperson, and Writer Kim Watson. Kim Watson has been present in intercommunity representation and advocacy for Decades, as a Woman of color she has made it her mission to fight for her various identities. Currently and for many years she has worked diligently, professionally, and to great results under the CK Life foundation.
Kim Watson moved to the US from Barbados when she was 23, hoping to escape the abuse and stigma she’d encountered as a young woman of trans experience. Two years later, homeless and engaging in sex work, she was diagnosed with HIV. Now 54, Kim is a proud mother to her nine year-old daughter, living a full active life with HIV and is sharing her story about how she overcame stigma, found her voice and established a community for herself and other people of trans experience.
For Decades her work has earned her many awards and commendations even becoming spokesperson for various trans initiatives in recent years, including the U=U Campaign!
Through the Modern-Day Woman Foundation LLC, Kim looks to continue doing amazing work without limits, using all her connections to advocate and find appropriate and personal care for various communities.
Nasir X Shabazz (Fulton County, Georgia)
NasirShabazz is a 26-year-old transgender man, father, and LGBTQ activist from Atlanta, GA. He is an avid powerlifter and bodybuilder and has recently started to shift his activism toward organizing athletic and health-related opportunities for the trans community.
Nathan Maxey, MPA (Harris County, Texas)
Nathan Maxey is a graduate of Texas Southern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and a Master of Public Administration. He lives the mantra, “Nothing for us without us” because it summarizes his passion and vigor for HIV/AIDS Advocacy as a person openly living with HIV for nineteen years. Currently, he serves as a Program Manager for a nonprofit in his hometown: Houston, Texas. He has presented at national conferences, served as an HIV grants reviewer, and former facilitator for Houston Positive Organizing Project (POP). Nathan is a former NMAC’s Building Leaders of Color with HIV (BLOC) program participant. Most recently, Impulse Group Houston presented Nathan with the Impulse Legacy Award for his work and meaningful involvement with the HIV/AIDS community.
Prizila Vidal (San Diego County, California)
As a local Foster Youth, LGBTQIA, and HIV/AIDS activist, I continue to advocate for foster youth both working with youth during the coming out process, and during the transitional age of 18-24, linking young adults to housing, education and employment resources. My journey with HIV brought me to the Mother, Child and Adolescent Program (MCAP) at UC San Diego, where I continue to volunteer my time and story as a speaker for events and workshops. I also started working within the HIV/AIDS population as well as Targeting Transgender Individuals that are either negative and HIV/AIDS Positive. Before I was even diagnosed I did not know anything about HIV/AIDS, I did not know how risky it can be and easy it is to contract it, although I got the disease by being raped. After knowing how easy it easy to contract it and share it I knew that I had to do something. I decided to bring up the so controversial topic to anyone and everyone that I could. These days besides my activism I am an Educator on HIV/AIDS as well as many other Topics I educate on. Furthermore, I would like to encourage all of you out there that are newly or already diagnosed to find that Support and get your health if not Good then Better!!
Rafael Gonzalez (Riverside/San Bernardino County, California)
OCCUPATION: Community Outreach Coordinator
EMPLOYER: Inland Empire HIV Planning Council, Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance
PROFESSIONAL/VOLUNTEER: Inland Empire HIV Planning Council Support Staff, Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance Community Outreach Coordinator, California Planning Group At-Large Member with the California State Office of AIDS, Board Member with Casa Ramona, Inc.
POPULATIONS AND/OR GROUPS: HIV Positive, Latinx, LGBTQ, Student
MEMBER BIO: Rafael has been involved in HIV prevention/care work for over 15 years. He has held positions in community health education at local AIDS service organizations and spent the last 5 years managing Early Intervention/Linkage to Care, HIV Testing/Education, and PrEP Education/Navigation programs in Riverside County. He is currently working as a Community Outreach Coordinator with the Inland Empire HIV Planning Council and Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance, a local LGBTQ group serving youth in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
Renae M. Taylor (Shelby County, Tennessee)
Renae Taylor is a 43-year-old Non-Binary Trans Organizer located in Memphis, Tennessee. They are part of the Local HIV Care and Prevention Planning Group, they are the Southwest Tennessee delegate for TAPWA (Tennessee Association of People With Aids), and they chair the Local Priorities and Integrated Group. Renae’s area of Interest is Social Justice and Liberation.
Roxanne Glapion (Dallas County, Texas)
PWN-USA Policy Fellowship Graduate 2018-2019
Administrative Coordinator for TOT 2018
Administrative Coordinator for 86 Legislation 2019
Silvia Valerio (Los Angeles County, California)
Silvia Valerio has been an HIV positive activist since 1991. She has been working in the HIV field since 1997. Silvia has experience working with the Latinx Community offering prevention and education services for the LGBT and HIV positive community. For more than 22 years Silvia has offered different programs and services at Bienestar, including peer navigation and support, prevention and counseling for positives, and linkage to care for newly diagnosed individuals. In 2001 Silvia was a spokesperson for the national Social Marketing campaign “HIV STOPS WITH ME” aimed at preventing new infections and to reduce the HIV/AIDS stigma related to it.
From 2008 to 2010 Silvia lead the Client Services Department at BIENESTAR and she was part of adherence research for HIV positive MSM in antiretroviral therapy as a research interviewer in collaboration with Charles Drew University and Children’s Hospital of Boston. From 2012-2017 Silvia was part of the TransActivate project, part of a HRSA special project for the Latina transgender community in LA County.
In addition to that, Silvia has experience as a community organizer in various leadership roles. She has conducted a skill building program for the Latinx Community recently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. This program is called Caminando Juntos -. This Program focuses on self-steem, spirituality and personal development as ways to live healthy with HIV. Silvia also is part of the Los Angeles Women’s Task Force. Currently Silvia is a BIENESTAR Center Lead and linkage to care coordinator which includes ADAP enrollment and HIV tester.
Stacy Jennings (Richland County, South Carolina)
Stacy Jennings is a 23-year survivor of HIV. In other words: HEAVEN is IN her VIEW. She states that, “God is truly able”. The day Stacy received her diagnosis in the year of 1995 she thought her life would be over but little did she know that what started out being a devastating diagnosis ended up being a blessing. She is able to speak up and speak out about her diagnosis and is no longer ashamed. She has a 25-year-old son whom is HIV negative and gave birth to a healthy baby boy after 20 years in March of 2014. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it because of the tremendous amount of stigma that still exists within our community and in our world. In spite of it all and because of it all Stacy has chosen to live on and be all that she can be for the next person. Stacy holds a various amount of degrees ranging from Human Services to a Criminal Justice degree. She loves writing poetry and is inspired to write about all facets of life. She dreams of sharing her story to all that are inclined to hear because telling her story will allow her to continue to bring down this disease, allowing her to become a stronger woman because of it.
Warren O’Meara-Dates (Etowah County, Alabama)
Warren Alexander Dates was born in Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Miles College, a United Negro College Fund member institution. He obtained his license to preach the Gospel in 2004.
In 2010 following his November 2009 HIV/AIDS diagnosis, Minister Dates founded The 6:52 Project Foundation, Inc. (6:52 Project). The 6:52 Project Foundation, Inc. (6:52 Project) began leading the way of exploring the complexity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as it partners with local, state and national individuals, organizations and corporations on January 16, 2010. Its resources targets individuals and organizations whose audience includes those affected and/or infected between the ages of 15-35 years.
Warren is currently a member of the Alabama Department of Public Health’s HIV Prevention & Care Group (HPCG); He serves as Special Projects Coordinator Consultant for the AL Dept. of Public Health, HIV/AIDS Division; He is the Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors for NEAL (Northeast Alabama) Together (an LGBTQ Community Support Group).