May 9, 2009

May 9, 2009
Mother/Daughter Banquet

Thanks for stopping by to check out what is going on in my life. Today is Saturday and I am so glad the weekend is finally here.

While I am always glad for the emails and calls we receive at the project, the volume lately has been more than one person can handle so please understand if it takes me a few days to get back to you.

It was a beautiful day here in north Florida. I relaxed for most of the day so I would be rested for the Princess Club Mother/Daughter HIV prevention banquet this evening. So after Gary and I ran a couple of errands early in the day, I rested for most of the afternoon.

When I arrived at the church in downtown Jacksonville for the banquet, I was amazed by the architecture. The church was probably built around the turn of the last century after the great Jacksonville fire. Unfortunately because of the downtown location, the church has problems with vandalism as evident by a few broken windows and the iron bars on the remaining unbroken windows.

But once inside, Marion and her group had transformed the fellowship hall into a princess wonderland with beautiful table and flower arrangements and garland. When you first walked into the hall, you were greeted by one of the members handing you a program. I quickly set up our HIV/AIDS information table with sign and started circulating among the guests.

I ran into Donna Fuchs from NFAN and her partner. We decided to sit at one of the front tables since I was one of the speakers for the event. Marion had asked a couple of months ago and I always try to make all the local events. I think it is so inspirational the way Healing Women are working in the community to keep the next generation of African American young women free of HIV and other STDs. With the high rate of infection among African American women in our city, we need all the help we can get. Having lived almost all of my adulthood with HIV, I would do anything to help prevent others from having to do the same.

A good friend of mine, Ayesha Faines, was the hostess for the evening and did a beautiful job as usual. Ayesha is very dedicated to HIV/AIDS efforts in Jacksonville and has appeared at several of other function since joining Channel 4 in the past couple of years. She will also be the hostess of ceremonies at our Teddy Bear Touchdown this year.

I gave the inspirational speech of the program. Sharing my long term HIV status and how we can work together to prevent the further high infection rates among African American females. Afterward, several of the women came up and thanked me for sharing my story and others thanking me for all they see me doing in the community.

The main speaker was a female gynecologist who gave an clear message to all the young women. All of the program was beautifully done with several of the young ladies performing dance, poetry or readings. Everything made for a very enjoyable event. There were two different photographers. One doing casual event shots and the other do backdrop shots. There was also a delicious meal with your choice of ham, chicken, several veggies, macaroni and cheese followed by dessert.

I would personally like to thank Marion and her group for all the hard work that went into the event. They did a first rate job and I look forward to participating again next year for their second banquet.

So what's happening in your community to stop HIV infection and help those already infected? And what are you doing to help? Just a thought.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab