News Journal (Wilmington) (03.11.12) - Thursday, March 15,
Some 300 people attended the seventh annual National Women and
Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Conference held on March 10 in
New Castle. The daylong program aimed to educate African-
American females about the disease and the importance of
taking control of their sexual health.
Wilmington is home to almost half of the New Castle County
residents living with HIV/AIDS. In 2009, nearly 30 percent of
Delaware's new HIV cases were among minorities in Wilmington,
state data show.
At the conference, guest speaker Glenda Hatchett, an attorney
and author known for her syndicated TV show "Judge Hatchett,"
encouraged attendees to be victorious rather than victims. She
also had a special message for mothers: "Teach your daughters
not to compromise. Don't be afraid to say no. When my parents
said 'no,' it was a complete sentence."
"We compete so much as women. But there is something we need
to be on the same page about," said HIV/AIDS educator Carolyn
Massey. "We need to take away the fear and stigma and have it
become part of the normal conversation. It needs to be like
how we talk about our hair. We will say, 'Your hair looks
good.' We need to also be able to say, 'And you've been
Kianna Collins and Maya Moore were among the teen girls who
came to the program. They learned about the event through
their church, Bethel AME in Wilmington. "It starts with us,"
said Collins. "We can't have everybody else making the
decisions about our life. You have to be the one in control."