Scrolling through radio stations on my way to teach art, video and photography at American International College, I landed at community radio station 90.7 WTCC and learned about an upcoming National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event organized by The New North Citizens' Council, Inc. (NNCC). The next day I headed over to the Mason Square Library in Springfield, Mass., to document the activities for The Image Works.
|Welcome! - NNCC Program Director Richard Johnson|
Part of the photojournalist's job is to make connections and to develop a network of sources and ideas. Fairly new to teaching and photographing in Springfield, I was encouraged by a warm welcome.
|Bay State Community Health Centers Table|
|Volunteer Food Servers|
One ebullient volunteer kept after me to eat something. Not wanting to be rude in refusing an offering of food, I said that upon completing my photography, I would have a small cupcake.
|Just Wear It - Free Condoms for Prevention|
This personal revelation suddenly jolted me from my detached photojournalistic outsider stance. I began to feel deeply the meaning of music playing, Sarah McLachlan's I Will Remember You.
|I Will Remember You|
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was started 14 years ago to focus attention on HIV in blacks and African Americans, the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States. Blacks make up only 12% of the U.S. population but had nearly half (44%) of all new HIV infections in the United States in 2010."