Listening. And Then Listening Some More.

Adwoa Afreh (Twitter: @Afresh_handle); ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Alumni – Southern Africa

Earlier this week, I arrived back in South Africa, a familiar place, a humbling place and forever a teaching place. Being in this space for the 21st International AIDS Conference is strengthening. The truth telling that I have witnessed has been the highlight of my time here. I applaud this conference for creating spaces for various organizations and movements to stand in their truth and call upon more allies to stand in solidarity with them. During my time here, many panelists and speakers have advocated for vulnerable and stigmatized groups like sex workers, young children, LGBTQI, gender based violence victims etc., to be invited at the conversation table regarding the eradication of HIV.

In these past days I’ve been spending time listening and listening and listening some more to sex workers, interfaith leaders, pharmaceutical representatives, activists, and conference goers. It seems like this 2030 goal is what most people have been speaking of the most. The goal being ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by the year 2030. Realistic? Possibly. Is the work going to be difficult? Most definitely. Nonetheless, I will be honest and say that I have a few doubts about that goal date.

Continue reading “Listening. And Then Listening Some More.”

Invisibility: A Super-Power to Some, Lived Experience for Others

Ryan Muralt, Program Development Associate
ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation (@reconcilingwrks)

Invisibility is often a desired “super-power” to be used against enemies or to light-heartedly spook your friends and family. However, there are those in our society who are forced into their invisibility; they do not get the choice to become invisible. Marginalized people like sex workers, transgender people, men who have sex with men, lesbian, gay, bisexual people and children with HIV are often forced to the margins and out of sight only illuminated for the split second mention in a high level speech.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Pause for a moment and think about how this phrase lands on your ears and then continue reading.

Continue reading “Invisibility: A Super-Power to Some, Lived Experience for Others”