Monica Johnson, Columbia, LA

Monica Johnson, Columbia, LA

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Monica Johnson, Columbia, LA

In the 1990s, I was a single Black mother living with HIV. The support groups in the rural South were a 45-minute drive from where I lived, and either didn’t welcome children at meetings or kept women shut out or didn’t address any of our concerns or issues. At the same time, Black heterosexual women were acquiring HIV at an alarming rate. It was clear that if I wanted a support group for people like me, I was going to have to make one myself.

So, I did.

I started HEROES out of my house 29 years ago. Since that time, HEROES has grown to include educational programs, after-school programs, a voter registration project, and so much more. We are proof that the word “no” can lead to something bigger and better than you ever imagined.