Alafia (Peace) I am Khafre K. Abif, AIDS Activist and I have been thriving with HIV for 23 years. I have compiled an anthology of inspirational prayers, poems and affirmations to support the souls and uplift the spirits of People Living with HIV/AIDS. For the last eighteen month the submissions have touched my soul, made me cry, filled me with hope, and connected me to an international community of compassionate contributors who have shared their work to empower my world. Your Sponsorship will bring a healing word to those who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
I believe that there is healing in prayer. I know that words have power. I needed to provide this collection of words that will combat the words that are so often hear spoken to someone with HIV. This is my effort to help combat HIV-related stigma. AIDS-related stigma and discrimination refers to prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse and maltreatment directed at people living with HIV and AIDS. The consequences of stigma and discrimination are wide-ranging: being shunned by family, peers and the wider community, poor treatment in healthcare and education settings, an erosion of rights, psychological damage, and a negative effect on the success of HIV testing and treatment. The idea for the anthology grew out of my work as an HIV Test Counselor. Each time I had to share with someone that they tested positive for HIV one of the first issues for them was disclosure.
Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmation for People Living with HIV/AIDS has received submission from Africa, America, Europe, and South America. Contributors have provided their work in their indigenous language with an English translation. I want to shares this anthology with the international community who created it. As you are reading this it is quite possible that you know someone living with HIV/AIDS. If you do then they have shared their status with you. Let us consider all of those who still haven’t disclosed to their mother, father, sister/brother or even their faith community. What place to they go to as a source of support and inspiration?
Poets featured in the forthcoming anthology include: Nikki Grimes, Serena T. Wills, Reginald T. Jackson, Sharaledon D. Brave, r. witherspoon, Samiya Bashir, Storme Webber, Carl Hancock Rux, Tim’m T. West, Mose Xavier Hardin, Jr., Lady Vee DaPoet, Victor R. Pond, Catherine Zickgraf, Temujin Ekunfeo, Alfreda Lanoix. Maria Hiv Mejia, Tony Medina, Sandy Rodgers, W. Travis Wright, Vanessa German, Mary Bowman and avery r. young and more.
Stigma is a three-dollar word that affects millions of Americans in different ways. Defining stigma as simply "a mark of shame or discredit" doesn't sound very impactful, and yet communities around the globe are paralyzed by it every day. I know this firsthand because I am HIV-positive. I have personally experienced the ignorance and discrimination faced by those of us who live with HIV.
HIV/AIDS stigma is rampant in American society. It started in the 1980s when the disease was termed GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency); President Reagan refused to even say the word AIDS for four years and the epidemic decimated entire communities in this country all the while. There is not one person living with HIV that I know of who has not suffered at some point due to stigma. In my case, due to my chosen profession, as a children’s librarian, stigma kept me silent for almost 15years.
The information about how to guard against HIV is out there, but people aren't educated, or don't think that they are at risk. People aren't getting tested (or even treated if they test positive) because they are afraid of the consequences of their loved ones finding out they are HIV-positive. Ignorance begets ignorance, and the silence of those of us who know better hinders the cause: we need to speak up.
We cannot end the AIDS epidemic without fighting the stigma, silence and fear associated with it. Your sponsorship for this campaign and its successful publishing will to the tool box of the infected community as each take a daily read to arm themselves before leaving their home and entering into a world that STILL hold stigma, shame and silence for the lives WE live each day.
- Although the fight against HIV/AIDS is more than thirty years old and many victories have been won, the fact remains that every nine and a half minutes someone is infected with HIV
- 2011 UNAIDS reports, number of people living with HIV/AIDS are 34.2 million and 8 million PLWHA received ARV, 330 000 children who acquired HIV infection, 2.5 million people acquired HIV infected, 1.7 million died of AIDS related illness.
- 34.2 million People are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
- 30 million people have died from AIDS-related complications worldwide.
- 18 million children have been orphaned from AIDS-related complications worldwide.
- 5,000 people die each day from AIDS before we are too busy with other priorities.
Yours sponsorship will provide new voices to the long silence of AIDS literary. It will provide for hope, strength and words that affirm, heal, and lift those who are infected as well as those who are marginalized such as commercial sex workers, gay, substance users, and those who are simply afraid to share with their family and church that they are gay much less that they are living with HIV
What We Need & What You Get
Yours sponsorship will support the cost of self publishing this anthology project delivering a High Quality Eco-Friendly Printing of Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmation for People Living with HIV/AIDS .
Sponsorship will ensure this anthology is presented in the spirit in which it has been compiled, a quilt of words that heal and affirm the soul. Sponsorship ensures the delivery of an aesthetically attractive book that is produced, designed and printed on quality paper. Sponsorship will ensure that each contributor that lives in the United States and does not live in the United States receives one free copy.
Yours (Giving Back) sponsorship you will receive a thank-you on the project website, and I will donate one copy of the book to an AIDS Service Organization in your city. Check out the $250 (Name In Print) sponsorship will include your name in the acknowledgments of the anthology. Sponsorship of $500 and we will arrange a Skype reading and discussion for you and your friends/community, your sponsorship of $1,000 and I will travel to your city to share my story of living with HIV for 23 years and you can host a private book signing.
In addition, sponsorship will provide for the projects ability to contract the cover art to be design by Javaka Steptoe. Javaka is an eclectic young artist, designer, and illustrator, building a national reputation as an outstanding contributor to the genre of children’s literature. His debut work, In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers, earned him the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, a nomination for Outstanding Children’s Literature Work at the 1998 NAACP Image Awards, a finalist ranking for the Bluebonnet Award for Excellence in Children’s Books, and countless other honors. His books, Do You Know What I’ll Do? authored by Charlotte Zolotow and A Pocketful of Poems authored by Nikki Grimes, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and the ALA Booklist. Hot Day on Abbott Avenue, written by Karen English, received the 2005 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Steptoe is also the author/illustrator of The Jones Family Express. His most recent illustration projects include Rain Play by Cynthia Cotten, published in 2008 and Amiri and Odette: A Love Story by multi award winning author Walter Dean Myers, forthcoming in January 2009. http://www.javaka.com/bio.html
Your sponsorship will provide the resources secure editor photo head shot be international creative artist and photographer Duane Cramer http://www.duanecramer.com/start.html http://www.greaterthan.org/heroes/year-2006/dua...
Other Ways You Can Help
You can post the campaign link of your Facebook page, send emails to your social network, log on the campaign link and post comments. You can spread the word about this project and share it with your social network on Twitter and raise the GoGo Factor for Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmation for People Living with HIV/AIDS. Use the share tools to push this project out to your community.
Khafre Kujichagulia Abif
AIDS Activist, Blogger, Editor