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world aids day.

Julia, the Lead Area Director, would like to share the following:

“This morning I attended the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s breakfast to commemorate World AIDS Day.  It was a beautiful gathering of people, from clients of EMO’s HIV Day Center (a multi-service drop-in center for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS), to Concordia University nursing students who provide foot care to the Day Center clients, to clergy, to folks who wanted to do something on this day to remember those who have died from AIDS and those living with it. 

I learned some sobering statistics:  In the United States, 1.1 million people are living with HIV today.  African-Americans account for 40% of total AIDS deaths, yet they make up only 12% of the populations.*  What a huge disparity in prevention efforts and medical access and care!

Yet, the feeling the attendees walked away with today was one of hope.  The value of community to ward off the poverty of loneliness and isolation.  The reminder, from a recent immigrant who attends the day center, that the “Old World” values of family, loyalty and love are present in such places as the Day Center.  The care that might not cure pain but can ease the suffering. 

Reflecting on the morning and the brave souls who shared their stories, I am grateful for the power of love-in-action and how to be community to each other.”

*Statistics from the Albina Ministerial Alliance and the African American AIDS Awareness Action Alliance (A6).

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Zayna Abusada (Ashland, MT ’17-18, Anchorage, AK ’18-19) was most recently a JV in south-central Alaska serving with immigrant and refugee English-Language learners as the Academy for Citizenship and Civics Support Specialist with the Alaska Literacy Program (ALP) in Anchorage. Zayna first served with Indigenous students on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Zayna went on to earn her undergraduate degree in History and Theological Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Louis University.