AIDS week to raise awareness across campus

By Emilie Plesset, Daily Staff Reporter
Published December 1, 2013

In observance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the University’s Black Student Union will host its yearly AIDS in Black and Brown Week this week. There will be interactive events throughout the week to spread HIV/AIDS awareness and education on campus.

Although BSU organizes the week, events are run by a variety of University-affiliated organizations, including the National Council of Negro Women, the Women of Color Collective and the Egyptian Students Association.

LSA senior Tyrell Collier, BSU’s president, said the goal of the week is to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemics’ impacts on the Black and Latino/a community.

LSA senior Ozi Uduma, BSU’s Seba — whose task it is to welcome, both physically and spiritually, those present at the mass meetings — and co-coordinator of the week, said the events provide a domestic focus on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in these communities.

“Just because the U.S. as a whole isn’t talking about HIV/AIDS or putting it on the forefront as they did in the 80s and 90s doesn’t mean that it’s still not prevalent, especially for those who grew up in the Detroit area,” Uduma said.

The National Council of Negro Women and Images will host the first event of the week Monday in North Quad at 7:00 p.m. During the event, participants will play “Sex Games,” a game-show contest similar to Family Feud, but the questions pertain to HIV/AIDS and same-sex practices.

The same day, the Phi Beta Sigma National Pan-Hellenic fraternity will host the week’s second event in Palmer Commons where participants will play “Sexas Hold ‘Em,” — in the place of poker chips, participants will use condoms.

On Dec. 4 the Michigan Women of Color Collective and the Egyptian Students Association are holding a screening of the 2011 film “Asmaa” in North Quad at 7 p.m. The movie follows an Egyptian woman with HIV as she struggles to obtain treatment.

“I’m excited for the movie because you get to hear from perspectives that don’t necessarily get a chance to speak,” Uduma said. “Being a woman of color and being HIV positive is not a narrative that gets a chance to get a spotlight often.”

While many of this year’s events are new, the staple event of the week is BSU’s formal AIDS in the Arts event Thursday in the University of Michigan Museum of Art at 7 p.m.

Collier said the event involves artistic performance includes dances, songs and instrumental music that tell stories of those affected by HIV/AIDS.

“It is basically supposed to bring awareness to artists who have been infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and have created art telling the story of HIV/AIDS,” Uduma said. “It creates other methods of dialogue to talk about HIV/AIDS.”

BSU and EnspiRED, a student organization aimed at promoting the arts on campus, will collaboratively run AIDS in the Arts. While BSU is organizing the event, EnspiRED is providing many of the student artists and performers.

The week concludes Friday with a community dinner hosted by BSU, South Asian Awareness Network and the Sigma Lambda Gamma multicultural national sorority at the Trotter Multicultural Center at 6 p.m.