Friday, April 22, 2011

Stepping In The Name Of Love

When I was first asked to contribute to this blog, I had no idea what I would say. I just knew I had to say something. I was asked to write about why I decided to (finally) participate in AIDS Walk NY. The first thought that entered my mind, strangely enough, was R. Kelly's "Step In The Name of Love". That's exactly what I'm doing... Stepping (walking) in the name of love.

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 50% of new HIV cases are African Americans. 1 in 30 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. These statistics are frightening, but this is the truth that we are facing. HIV/AIDS is a pandemic amongst my people. I'm 'stepping' in love for my Black brothers and sisters who live with this dreadful virus.

It's been over 10 years since I've spoken to a very dear friend of mine. She was infected with HIV by her boyfriend and became pregnant. When she found out she had the virus, she was devastated. When I asked her was she going to leave him, she told me she might as well stay with him, since they were both infected. She didn't understand that she had options, that she could live a normal, healthy life, and even fall in love again. I'm stepping in love for the friendship that I lost that still torments my heart and mind.

Children...I think about the children. Some are born with HIV, come into this world as warriors, and spend their lives fighting for a healthy existence. The children of men and women who are living with HIV/AIDS, and have to watch their parents deal with this horrible, incurable disease. If for no other reason, we need to find a cure so the children, our future, don't have to suffer. I know the toll that having a parent infected with HIV/AIDS takes on children. My brother and sister were those children. I was that child. I'm stepping in love in the memory of my mother.

I'm walking because there's still ignorance as to how HIV is contracted. I'm walking because more people need to be educated about HIV/AIDS. I'm walking for those who have lost their lives. I'm walking for the mothers, fathers, siblings, family members, and friends of those who live with, or lost their lives to, HIV/AIDS. I'm walking because there is a cure to be found, and I pray it's found in my lifetime. I'm walking because no matter what race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status we fall under, we are ALL children of The Most High, and HIV/AIDS effects us all.

I'm "Stepping In The Name Of Love".

Chante'l S. Mikell


1 comment:

  1. wow... so easy to forget that HIV/AIDS is not just another cause... it's real and affects people lives daily. thanks for sharing chantel.