Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

December 1: World AIDS Day

It feels weird posting this.  The lack of attention on the virus today makes me feel like America has forgotten that the disease still exists.  And I don't know how I feel about that.  If the lack of attention means that the stigma surrounding the virus is gone - then I'm okay with this.  But I don't think that's the case.

The picture above is from a World AIDS Day event I organized several years ago.  Several community leaders came together for the night.  I have organized many community events but this one was one of my faves.  Rev. Reginald Walton was in the house.  He spoke on the role the black church should have in the fight against this disease.  This man was such an inspiration.  As the head of a black church, he was not afraid to talk about some things that many black clergy steered away fromf.  He spoke about inclusion of the LGBT community.  He actively worked with queer leaders in the community.  And he spoke out on HIV/AIDS.  Most other black leaders in Phoenix avoided these topics like the plaque, but Rev. Walton never feared raising his voice about these important matters..

And RJ Shannon was in the house that night.  RJ was another inspiration for me as well.  She was the greatest community organizer I ever had the pleasure of working with and she was the benchmark for so much of the work I did (and still do).  I remeber calling her and asking her to close out the night with some words of movication and a call to action.  She came in that night and did exactly what I needed her to do.

The picture brings back fond memories.  I no longer live in Phoenix and I miss the connection I had with my friends in the Valley.  But I owe so much of who I am now to those folks and to this city.  World AIDS Day sent me down this strange rabbit hole of feelings.  How do I feel about the day?  How do I feel about the way the world treats the virus now?  I'm not sure and that's okay.  Everything doesn't need an answer.  And I don't have to process this all right now.  

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