creativity, culture, community
HIV cases are on the rise, especially among teens and young adults. In order to stem the 70% spike in new HIV cases in young people ages 13-24 in the US, particularly in Atlanta which is one of the epicenters of the spike, a bi-coastal team of artists, scientists, professors, ministers, nurses and counselors are collaborating on a series of events to take place in Atlanta on World AIDS Day, December 1.
To create a full day of activities, producers Lelavision are working with artists including Moving in the Spirit, Mausiki Scales, Morehouse Freshman Dorm Steppers and cellist Okorie Johnson; collaborating with scientists and professors at Morehouse College, Emory University, Georgia State University and Clark Atlanta University; and coordinating efforts with nurses and staff of Grady Memorial Hospital and AID Atlanta. Support is also provided by the CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign, Sensation Station Network, and Georgia Equality.
In early 2015, Leah Mann, co-director of Lelavision and artistic director emeritus of Moving in the Spirit, was commissioned to create an AIDS intervention performance with funding from the Elton John AIDS Foundation via the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. After creating a 30 minute performance piece titled GTZ (“Getting To Zero” new cases of HIV), Mann wanted to create a platform to get HIV on the radar of youth. So Lelavision contacted their long- time science collaborators at Emory University and began reaching out to others in metro Atlanta to organize events for World AIDS Day.
“Our goals for the events in Atlanta are to raise awareness and help normalize HIV testing,” says Mann. “We are using art as a catalyst to bring attention to the issue and inspire action. We want to dissolve the stigma associated with HIV and to properly address it as a public health issue. Everyone should know their status because that knowledge will empower them to make healthy choices.”
Here’s an overview of the events scheduled for Tuesday, December 1:
Free performances and workshops
10-11 am Collegiate World AIDS Day Kick Off at Emory University, Emory Atwood Chemistry Center, 1515 Dickey Dr., Atlanta, GA 30322
*Performances by Mausiki Scales & Common Ground Collective and Emory Dance, followed by speakers. Also on display at Emory’s DUC (Dobbs University Center) will be the largest collegiate collection of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
11:30 am Ethics Panel on HIV/AIDS Stigma and Disease: “Can We Eradicate HIV/AIDS?” at Emory University, Ethics Commons 102, 1531 Dickey Dr., Atlanta, GA 30322
12:30 pm Clark Atlanta University Student Center, 223 James P. Brawley Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30314
*Performance by Mausiki Scales & Common Ground Collective
1:30 pm Clark Atlanta University Student Center, 223 James P. Brawley Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30314
*Performance by Okorie Johnson
4:30 pm Healthy Love Workshop for AUC students by Sister Love at Morehouse College, Forbes Arena, 833 Fair Street, Atlanta, GA 30314
7 pm Collegiate World AIDS Day Finale Rally at Morehouse College, Morehouse Sale Hall, 830 Westview Dr. SW, Atlanta, GA 30314
*Performances by Mausiki Scales & Common Ground Collective, Morehouse Freshman Dorm Steppers and Moving in the Spirit, followed by speakers including: Masonia Traylor, CDC Act Against AIDS Ambassador; Rev Duncan Teague, Morehouse College; Dr. Sinead Younge, professor of psychology at Morehouse College; Rob Woods, Senior Field Organizer for Georgia Equality; and Reggie Smith of Rise Multimedia. The Finale Rally will be live webcast at http://rise4war.com/broadcasts/.
Free Confidential HIV testing is available for both students and the general public.
Lelavision is the collaboration of sculpture and musician Ela Lamblin and choreographer Leah Mann. They began their partnership in 1992 in Atlanta, GA with performances of original kinetic sculpture, live music, and dance. In 1996 in Seattle, WA, they founded Lelavision, a professional touring company that has coined and perfected its own genre of performance, Physical Music. They present original performance works that cross all boundaries of race, education, language, religion, economic background, gender, and age. For info: www.lelavision.com.
Moving in the Spirit is a nationally-recognized youth development program that uses the art of dance to positively transform the lives of children and teens in Atlanta, GA. Through programs that integrate high-quality dance instruction with performance, leadership and mentor opportunities, Moving in the Spirit impacts over 200 children and teens annually, encouraging them to overcome the obstacles they face each day and realize their highest potential. For more info: www.movinginthespirit.org.
Mausiki Scales is a musician, composer, community activist and teacher. For the last 20 years Scales has taught history and African world studies in Atlanta-area colleges. Since 2007 he has been an instructor in the African American Studies Department at Georgia State University. An accomplished Afrobeat-jazz songwriter, he has collaborated with artists such as Roy Ayers, Les Nubians, Kirk Whalum, and Julie Dexter. Scales has released five CDs. He is the founder and bandleader of the Common Ground Collective and has been featured at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the National Black Arts Festival, and Ghana’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in West Africa. He is a recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities. To listen: www.soundcloud.com/mausiki-scales.
***Photo of Mausiki Scales by Brandi Pettijohn.