Many times I’m one of the first to speak up. I don’t feel I do that because I know more than others. I do it because so many hesitate to speak up. So maybe I speak up 1. To fill the gap. 2. To get the ball rolling. 3. To prime the pump.
I mean if you pour a little water in the top of the pump, then try pumping you get plenty of water. Right? My analogy of the pump comes from my childhood when my grandparents only had a well and an outhouse.
We had to pull up buckets of water and then they moved up to a house which actually had a pump in the kitchen. (Still without indoor plumbing for a bath tub or a toilet.) When the pump wouldn’t bring up any water we had to prime the pump with a cup of water. You had to make sure to have that cup of water or we had to go outside and pull up a bucket of water. It didn’t seem too long without pumping before it would need primed again.
I thought about many times at a meeting of several to many people I am the first one to raise my hand and speak up. It’s not because “I know more” I feel it’s because “I’m priming the pump”. I speak up and something I said makes another person think of something to add or in another direction. My words can get the ball rolling, the ice breaker, or maybe overcome someone else’s fear of speaking first. I have many ideas, and not always a favorite, or maybe something someone else is thinking or their experience. I’m not afraid of disagreeing with the main speaker but I try to be polite whether I agree or disagree.
You don’t have to be a good speaker to speak up. It’s your thoughts, your feelings, or your own experiences.
We all come from different walks of life. We all have our own stories and experiences. Don’t think “no one” wants to hear your ideas or thoughts on any subject. Great minds think alike? Great minds also disagree but great things come from people with many ideas and experiences when they merge them together.
So be that “Primer” and Prime The Pump. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You wouldn’t get water. I don’t think that would ever happen as so many people have plenty to say, they just couldn’t find the words until “You” spoke up!
One of my favorite things that I say is “Speak Up And Speak Out”. And that can apply to advocacy or everyday life.
Don’t be afraid of being different, of being laughed at, and never be afraid of being wrong.
There is no wrong words but there’re many things never being said. So “Prime That Pump”. You never know what comes up could be Liquid Gold!
The Judge Not! Campaign was a big success! Even though we have a long ways to go, it was a start to reach a part of our community that we have not dealt with because the stigma in the church community is so heart breaking that it is not an easy task. But someone has to do it, so why not us?
We say we are advocates and we want to see a change. What better way to make a difference in the the lives of people living with this health issue than to continue to stand up and advocate and be a voice for the voiceless. One way to end stigma is through community events. There are different approaches to being an advocate and it doesn’t matter how you choose to advocate as long as you have a purpose, the outcome will be great if you believe what you’re doing will cause change.
On March 9th, 2019 there was a change that took place in the community. Let’s Talk About It had a community event to celebrate Women & Girls HIV Awareness Day. The event was “educational, powerful, and fun, it brought unity to the community. It opened the door to other community establishment in our area” (M.E). We had the support of local politicians, pastors, artists, media, and community agencies. There was HIV testing, vaccines, and health screenings taking place and people were still getting tested when the event was over. To help end the stigma of HIV we gave some people hope and that’s what it’s all about.
Hope, tells people its not the end, there is life after HIV. It gives people an expectation, you’re expecting something to take place, a change to take place, a change in the stigma of HIV. It allows people to be free and to show you don’t need to be afraid to be who you are, to love yourself, and to accept yourself no matter your health issue. This is why you have to believe in the work you’re doing. The change may not happen in a day, but it will eventually happen.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” –James Baldwin.
Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and as a community, I think it is very important that we understand the reason why we have to fight so hard to end the epidemic again HIV/AIDS.
As people of color, we are already fighting against the injustice of racial barriers, which increases the stigma of those living with HIV.
We wanted to share this straight-to-the-point blog by Venita Ray, a woman who has touched many lives. Click the image below to visit her blog.
We hope that you will find the strength to speak out and advocate for yourself, your sisterhood and your community. We want you to know that you are not alone and if you feel that you are in need of support, we are here for you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org