Photo credits: LaTasha Brown, Caroline Watson, and Monica Hahn

 

On the night of Friday, October 16th, 2015, The Sankofa Center hosted an amazing event at Dance Brigade’s Dance Mission: AZONTO.

Below is the adapted text describing the event from the AZONTO Facebook event page:

Since 2004, The Sankofa Center has toured hundreds of villages in Ghana educating 50,000 community members & 35,000 students about HIV through dance-stories while providing free rapid HIV testing to over 4,000. The rural roads have murdered our outreach van. This event raised funds towards another outreach van to continue our impact for years to come!

The evening was a collaboration of performance pieces by Bay Area dance-companies that reflect stories of the human spirit, HIV challenges, Hope and Resiliency. Our art-filled mixer was a rhythmic fusion of global music, dancing, & learning the latest approaches from leaders within the public health community in the era of PrEP. All were invited to watch & learn, sip & mingle, and be inspired. A global artisanal holiday craft fair was held on site to raise funds towards the purchase of a van to continue Sankofa’s life-saving HIV prevention tours in rural villages in Ghana. And finally, the night ended with everyone shaking a tail feather to the global funky beats of DJ Elembe.

The arts is an amazing platform for change. AZONTO ( a modern street dance born from a fusion of West African hiplife music) sets the platform for a 1st of its kind event merging the worlds of public health and performance art to enhance the community’s understanding of today’s HIV reality. Performance art fosters communication and expresses human emotions and actions while bringing many complicated issues such as stigma, discrimination, power, and human nature surrounding sexuality into perspective.

We were treated to an amazing evening of dancing, performance art, and listening to a handful of public health speakers.

 

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Dr. Al Liu                                                                        One of the amazing dancers                                                         Garza

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Ronnie Shaw and Patricia Defechereaux, the event’s organizers and hosts

 

I told my story of being in a serodifferent marriage and of founding #WeAreAllWomen.

 

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In the entrance to the event, I was honored to facilitate and participate in a Love Note display, courtesy of Shannon Weber.

 

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In the back, Monica Hahn, one of our HIVE clinicians, and I womaned a booth with HIVE’s fact sheets and videos.

 

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                            The HIVE table                                                                     Me showing the Female Condom Demo video

 

Also in the back, The Sankofa Center was selling beautiful clothing and accessories. I nabbed a dress for my daughter, Valerie, and an apron for myself:

 

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Caroline Watson is the Social Justice and Communications Coordinator at HIVE, and the founder of #WeAreAllWomen. She is in a serodifferent marriage and has a 2 year old daughter.