Rub your toes Tuesday! After the long last couple of days of walking, we kept walking. Starting off our morning at GMHC, our first activity was a Safer Sex Kit Workshop and Project. Our advisors/teachers that morning, Toni and Christina were absolutely hilarious and genuinely relatable. We learned to be more open in discussion of sex in ways of how to normalize it, new slang, not to “yuck my yum,” and the best ways to stay safe. This should have been “normal” for us young adults to speak about but some of us couldn’t keep from laughing, which is completely okay! Following the workshop, it was our time to serve lunch!
Serving lunch didn’t seem to be a big deal to us… However it was the opposite for the guests, they expressed their gratitude and thankfulness because if there weren’t volunteers- there wouldn’t be GMHC. As volunteers, we had the chance to sit down with guests during our break and simply talk to them. Some guests shared their personal stories of school/work, others about hometowns relatively close to us, and some who taught us how difficult it can be to communicate. We cleaned up the cafeteria and sat down for a conversation with Eric Sawyer (pic of us with him below), a strong activist and a Founding Member of ACT UP. During the conversation, he explained the what the process was in the beginning for GMHC as the community involved fought for HIV/AIDS medications from the FDA and his own experience. It was so humbling to see and talk with a person that has been with the movement since day one and previously seeing him in the movie Larry Kramer: In Love and Anger, in person. Shelley, our coordinator came in and talked to us about a possible snow day and we were off to the Harlem Public Library. There, we listened to a discussion about a recently released book Radical Reproductive Justice written by a panel of Women of Color.
For those who don’t know what Reproductive Justice is the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, social, and economic well-being of women and girls, based on the full achievement and protection of women’s human rights according to Berkeley Law. In the discussion, they shared personal experience and eye opening thoughts of how healthcare for women of color is and how to be an activist for them. One item for the Q&A that stood out is a woman who shared a story form that night before the show. She brought along her infant and another woman mentioned “I hope that baby doesn’t make any noise,” the mother responded “This baby has a voice and will use it.” This was a great response to the comment and it is something that should be normalized instead of keeping kids quiet as that’s what they learn when pulled out of discussions and many other opportunities growing up.
We ended the night with dinner at a pack-your-own-to-go box soul food restaurant called Jacob’s and our own discussion of all activities through the day in our (Aleana and Erica’s) room — [pic below] disclaimer it was extremely tight fit for the time we were all in here but it was okay because bonding!!
Also, Olivia had the opportunity to touch a fire truck. That is all.