People and organizations making a positive difference.

+ organizations

 

Northern Virginia
AIDS Ministry (1987 - 2013)

responding to the AIDS crisis since 1987

The mission of NOVAM was "[...] to educate the community about HIV/AIDS, combat the fear, prejudice and complacency that surround the disease, and to provide direct services to meet the needs of those who are living with HIV/AIDS. We pledge to serve all those who have been touched by this epidemic, regardless of gender, race, disability, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin." It had HIV case management, prevention, education, LGBT youth support services and more.

NOVAM was the nonprofit that gave me my preliminary HIV diagnosis. They not only diagnosed me but they drove me to and from the hospital both for my blood drawal and confirmatory test result. The night of my diagnosis was the night they gave me my first opportunity to see someone with HIV speak openly about it via their Face-to-Face program. So three years I joined that program as a speaker myself and eventually achieved my dream of speaking at my own high school.

People special to me who worked at NOVAM were: Bill Briggs (youth support group & drove me to hospital), Magno Caballero (case manager), Marina El-Ghoul (Face-to-Face educator and senior program coordinator) as well as all my fellow HIV-positive speakers.
I owe my life and motivation to the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry. I hope one day they will see this webpage and know just how grateful I am. I don't know where I would be if it weren't for NOVAM. There isn't enough love in the world to give them all they deserve for their generosity, warm hearts and hard work.

Whitman-Walker Health

Community. Caring. Quality.

"Our mission is to be the highest quality, culturally competent community health center serving greater Washington’s diverse urban community, including individuals who face barriers to accessing care, and with a special expertise in LGBT and HIV care."

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La Clinica del Pueblo

Non-profit Latino Community Clinic

"La Clinica del Pueblo is a non-profit, federally qualified health center that serves the Latino and immigrant populations of the Washington, DC metro area. Our goal is to provide culturally appropriate health services, focusing on those most in need."

Building Bridges

"Connecting Communities Across Virginia"

"Building Bridges is a mindset, a toolkit for all of us. Our mission is to foster strong, meaningful relationships with and between communities across Virginia. In doing so, we hope to authentically reintegrate the voices and visions of diverse community stakeholders into the local political process through persistent outreach, listening and engagement."

NovaSalud Inc.

"Established by and for the community..."

NovaSalud, Inc’s mission is to improve and strengthen the health and well-being of our diverse Northern Virginia community through culturally-competent and language-appropriate HIV/AIDS services and prevention education. NovaSalud works to effect the change necessary to instill understanding and compassion, and strives to mitigate the discrimination and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Community Voices

We're Listening

"The goal of the Community Voices: We're Listening podcast is to offer a platform for people to tell their personal stories about how the recent U.S. political climate has directly affected them. 

The podcast is co-hosted by Kayla Sykes and Adil Bari Cheema and produced/edited by Sam Salous."

 
 
 
 
 
 

DC's Different Drummers

D.C.'s Different Drummers is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender music organization welcoming ALL musicians as it fosters pride, inclusivity, and engagement with the greater Washington, D.C. region through music.

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." 
— Henry David Thoreau

 

+ people

 

Josh Robbins "I'm Still Josh"

HIV-positive activist, blogger, talent agent, writer & social media marketer

“[...] I learned on Jan. 24, 2012 that I am HIV positive. [...]  But that is just part of my story. It’s just part of how and why I got here today. I decided to make an HIV blog because my circumstance of being newly poz isn’t my death sentence, it isn’t even close to what defines ME as Josh, and I want people both positive and negative to find a piece of hope through my experiences: to prevent the result that was read to me from being given to them OR if it was a POZ result– realizing it’s only the beginning on a new world.”

Pedro Zamora (1972 - 1994)

HIV/AIDS Activist & Educator

A Cuban-American diagnosed with HIV at the age of 17, Pedro was a fearless influencer, role-model activist (HIV & LGBTQ+), advocate and sexual health educator. 

He starred on the national TV show MTV's Real World: San Francisco where he came out about being gay and eventually HIV positive. His story gained national attention from the Wall Street Journal, Geraldo and Oprah Winfrey. He proceeded to go to high schools across the country to talk about his HIV status and educated students about sexual health and safety.

He spoke at a Capitol Hill reception as a gay man of color living with AIDS in 1993. He testified before a Congressional hearing on HIV/AIDS prevention, awareness and sex education reform in 1994. He told Congress that "what we need is the collective will to care about young people and about people with different backgrounds and make sure that one day people grow up in a world without AIDS". Soon after, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala personally thanked and recognized Pedro Zamora for his work and leadership on the AIDS Action Council Board of Directors as well as for humanizing and personalizing those living with HIV and AIDS.

In 1994 when he was 24 years old he died from AIDS complications with his family at his side. Even though Pedro is physically deceased, his memory and work live on. Whether it be through medical centers, streets, schools and scholarships being named after him or whether it be people affected by his relentless mission to educate. My advocacy and activism is a product of Pedro's tireless efforts. He cannot truly be dead because when I found his story days after being diagnosed with HIV at the age of 17, he both inspired and empowered me to do something about it. He made me feel like my HIV status did not make me a slut because and that I could make a difference by speaking up.


Since he has continued to substantially impact generations a decade and a half after his death, then it is clear that he lives on. He lives on through the passionate words and decisive actions that work towards a world free of HIV by people who have been activated and empowered by his story. Empowered by Pedro Zamora's story of courage, relentless positivity and a determination to affect change through compassion and speaking up in the face of immense adversity and stigma.

 
 

Martín Vilariño

Director of Product Development,
Infinite Biomedical Technologies (IBT)

Martín has a BS in Bioengineering from the University of Maryland and a MSE in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. In his time working at IBT he has launched three FDA-registered medical devices that empower prosthesis users with next generation technology. He has over 6 years of experience in product development and strives to build strong teams that are ready to tackle the most challenging problems.

Martín's work with prosthetics helps amputees to break down barriers so that they can have a fairer chance at pursuing their life ambitions. His continuous goal to "empower people to live meaningful lives through better technology" aptly illustrates the impact he has made and continues to make everyday.

Not only does his work speak for itself but throughout his life Martín's love and compassion towards others has left positive footprints on his communities, friends and family (myself included).

 

Graham Weinschenk

Secretary, Virginia Young Democrats (VAYD)

Graham Weinschenk serves as the Secretary of the Virginia Young Democrats (VAYD) and as an At-Large Member of the Democratic National Committee Youth Council. Prior to serving as the Secretary of VAYD, he was the Chair of the VAYD Teen Caucus. For the 2016-2017 academic year, Graham served as the Vice Chair of the Arlington Public Schools Student Advisory Board. He is a passionate advocate for medically accurate sex education, having worked on legislation in the Virginia General Assembly for several years. Graham is a freshman at the College of William & Mary and is studying Government.

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"You've got to
Protect yourself,
Respect yourself and
Love yourself. 
- fellow HIV positive speaker
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