By Christina Murphy, with Jacqueline Peters | April 27, 2016
HIV Navigator, Indigenous Peoples Task Force
Jacqueline Peters: In Part 1 of this blog post, I described some of my experiences as a trainer for the WILLOW training of facilitators in Atlanta. In Part 2, I asked Alesia Miller to share some of her thoughts about the experience and the program. Today we hear from another participant, Tina Murphy.
Tina is an HIV Navigator with the Indigenous Peoples Task Force in Minneapolis. She has such passion for the work WILLOW is doing. “I want to take the knowledge I’ve gleaned back to my community,” she told us when we were finishing up the 5-day training. I remember the radiant smile on her face as she thanked us for our efforts.
It has always been my passion and calling to be in the service of helping others, in all communities, especially in our communities of color. I care deeply about the ongoing health disparities and social justice issues we all continue to face. My journey started with Tobacco Prevention/Cessation. It continues to build on that foundation, and now I am doing HIV prevention work.
What motivates me in this work is the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other when it comes to our sexual health. There are too many people still in denial, unaware or just disconnected from knowing their status. Too many find it difficult to communicate to their partners their own value and self worth. There is not enough information or campaign awareness about HIV, just as was true over 25 years ago. This is still a need.
I am also committed to getting rid of HIV stigma. Society often views those who are living with HIV/AIDS negatively. Among the people with HIV/AIDS I have known are many very awesome, beautiful people who can love and live long healthy lives, too.
Prior to my current work, I honestly knew very little about HIV and the prevention work. I knew only the basics. So, my hope when I think back, was to really engage people in the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other, when it comes to the full circle of our health.
We still have so much work to do in reaching others in our networks. This is especially true for those who have no access to care, are still using drugs, are being trafficked, are homeless, etc.
My goal has been to make a real difference in someone's life, even if it is just a small light of hope for change. I want to get them connected to care if it is needed. I want to empower others to help those in need. And finally, I want for all of these voices to be heard and become a part of the movement, too.
I am still reflecting on the amazing experience I had at the WILLOW training with the lifetime of sisters I was gifted with. The WILLOW intervention means to me having a strong foundation of LIFE, LOVE, EMPOWERMENT, CONFIDENCE, and STRENGTH. These are just some examples of how that strong foundation can continue to be built upon and grow into a powerful force and energy that can help support people and let them be there for themselves and others.
Christina Murphy is an HIV Navigator with the Indigenous Peoples Task Force in Minneapolis. Jacqueline Peters is an administrative specialist and trainer at ETR. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or found on LinkedIn.