Angela Denise Davis
The AAPD 2012 Justice for All Awards and ADA Anniversary Celebration last week marked the climax of our summer internship program. We have two more weeks to go, but it was clear that this event where disability advocates were honored was the last, formal hoo-rah for the interns.
The week was filled with other activities. I started it by having dinner with my partner who was here for the 2012 International AIDS Society Conference. Although I was not a registered participant of the gathering, I camped out 2 days at the “Disability Networking Zone” of the Global Village. It was amazing to see the international efforts of combining accessibility with HIV prevention programs. This was especially true of the presentation given by the Christian Blind Ministries (CBM) partners in Tanzania. They reported that the number of persons with HIV is higher for persons with disability than it is for the general population. A presenter also remarked that this disparity is even greater in other African countries.
The conference was attended by thousands of persons from all across the globe, and I felt that as I marched with the woman’s collective on Tuesday afternoon. I tied to my white cane the blue cloths given to the marchers as a representation of a “sea of woman.” I lifted my cane high, and as we marched I saw another cane in the crowd. It belonged to a French woman who was quite glad to discover that she had a disabled sister in the crowd. She was not extremely fluent in English, and I did not know any French. Our language discrepancy was not a hindrance to our shared enthusiasm and solidarity, though.
The AIDS conference also offered me an opportunity to interact with friends from Atlanta and the D.C. area who are working in HIV prevention or research. A small group of us went to the Kennedy Center for an ADA anniversary performance “Theater Breaking Through Barriers” on the Millennium Stage. It was six plays about disability in 70 minutes. It was a pleasure to attend with friends, and then to talk about the performances over dinner.