Assembling an AIDS Quilt Panel, 1989
Growing up in NC, my mother worked as a social worker in pediatric HIV/AIDS at Duke Medical Center. In 1987, she started the first support group for adults with HIV/AIDS in NC. My mother and step-father first met at an AIDS Service Agency of NC meeting and later became president and vice-president of the agency, respectively. The fight against HIV/AIDS and promoting education, awareness, and community around the issue has been very important to my parents, thus, a big part of my life from a young age.
In honor of World AIDS Day, I’m sharing my images from collaborating with the Southern AIDS Living Quilt. The Living Quilt is a project of Southern AIDS Coalition, dedicated to promoting awareness of the growing impact of HIV/AIDS on women in the southern US, particularly women of color. Naturally, I was honored when approached to be a part of this effort and am proud to share these portraits with you today.
Photography: Natalia Weedy / Stories Written By: Andy Tennille
Twila found her firm ground at the Y when her life seemed most fragile-after a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Twila joined LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, the 12-week health and fitness program designed to put cancer survivors back on track to long-term health and fitness. LIVESTRONG gave Twila the chance to heal outside of a medical setting. She found a supportive environment of fellow survivors and Y staff. Today she gives back by volunteering with the program.
From his beginning as a young child participating in Y learning and after school programs to his current role as a counselor, the YMCA gave Leo the opportunity to grow and thrive. “There are a lot of people at the Y that have changed my life and helped me out,” says Leo. “the Y is part of my family.”
Last summer, Kathy, a single parent of a child with autism, thought she had exhausted all affordable child care options for her daughter, Lexi. Kathy saw the importance of the Y in Lexi’s life firsthand while she was at Y summer camp. “Lexi was sitting in the bleachers with a group of kids, and there was this little boy sitting next to her. They were elbowing each other, giggling and laughing,” Kathy recalls. “I broke down crying. I’d never seen her have an interaction like that with a typical child.”