Last week, nearly 150 ONE super-members were in Washington, D.C., for ONE’s 2012 Power Summit, a four-day advocacy extravaganza.
What makes you get out of bed every day in the morning? What makes you put one foot in front of the other during the day? What makes you go to sleep with a smile on your face at night? My friends, what I am explaining here is passion– and passion, determination and inspiration is what I found in all our speakers during Day 2 of ONE’s 2012 Power Summit.
Florence Ngobeni-Allen, Cristina Pena and Jennifer Lotito, HIV/AIDS activists from all over the world, shared how they made the decision to become an advocate, an activist and a catalyst for the fight to end HIV/AIDS.
Florence, from South Africa, shared her powerful life story on living with HIV. After she lost a beautiful daughter to HIV/AIDS, and soon thereafter mobilizing herself to become an advocate and the first HIV-positive counselor with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Her story literally brought me to tears. Cristina, also with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, shared her amazing story on what being born with HIV was like for her and her family, how her experience motivated her to speak out on the fight to end HIV/AIDS and how we could be that voice for others as well — emphasizing the power of storytelling. Jennifer, CPO with (RED), shared her current experience in the fight to end HIV/AIDS and showed us how we can be involved with (RED) in many ways, such as through the upcoming (RED) Rush in June.
Friends, there is no time to waste in this fight to end HIV/AIDS!
We also heard from Roger Thurow, author of “The Last Hunger Season,” as he shared the details from his trip to Kenya, the friendships he made with amazing farmers and the inspiration he received through their story, determination and empowerment to begin their “exodus out of poverty.”
It is time for these farmers to farm not just to survive but to THRIVE. And, this is what ONE’s THRIVE Campaign is all about. If our G8 leaders realized how effective investing into smart agriculture programs is, then they would see that 50 million people could be taken out of poverty and 15 million children could not die from malnutrition. They must take action with us to ensure that we reach these goals.
The panelists were amazing — and I know that every other participant feels the same. I left today’s meetings feeling more empowered than when I walked in, more motivated to get ONE’s issues out to our officials and community, and more inspired to share my story with others. This fight to end HIV/AIDS in children by 2015 and to increase agriculture productivity and opportunity is not just a dream anymore, but is soon to be a reality. I have faith that there will be a day when we look back and “we will see that it was all worth it.”
-Paulina Sosa, Austin