BY BTL STAFF
The University of Michigan Museum of Art Student Engagement Council and the U-M Spectrum Center presents a screening of Visual AIDS’ “Alternate Endings, Radical Beginnings” from 6-7:45 p.m. on Dec. 1 at the Helmut Stern Auditorium.
The series of new video works by seven contemporary artists – Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye (with Ellen Spiro), Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia Labeija, Tiona McClodden and Brontez Purnell – prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing HIV epidemic.
In spite of the impact of HIV/AIDS within Black communities, these stories and experiences are often excluded from larger artistic and historical narratives. In 2016, African Americans represented 44 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. Given this context, it is increasingly urgent to feature a myriad of stories that consider and represent the lives of those housed within this statistic. “Alternate Endings, Radical Beginnings” seeks to highlight the voices of those that are marginalized within broader Black communities nationwide, including queer and trans folks.
Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, “Alternate Endings, Radical Beginnings” is the 28th iteration of Visual AIDS’ longstanding Day With(out) Art project. The commissioned projects include intimate meditations of young HIV positive protagonists; a consideration of community-based HIV/AIDS activism in the South; explorations of the legacies and contemporary resonances within AIDS archives; a poetic journey through New York exploring historical traces of queer and trans life, and more. Together, the videos provide a platform centering voices deeply impacted by the ongoing epidemic.
Additional partners include the U-M Center for Sexuality & Health Disparities, Trans Sistas of Color Project, and Unified HIV Health and Beyond. A panel discussion will be held following the screening with Bre Campbell, founder of the TSOCP, Leon Golson, director of prevention programs for Unified HIV Health and Beyond in Ypsilanti; and Demario Longmire, a Health Corps Fellow working with communities affected by HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C.
Campbell is a black woman of trans experience living in Detroit. As the co-director of TSOCP – a grassroots, needs-based organization created by trans women of color living in the city – she has been living with HIV since 2010 and uses her experience to advocate for other women living with HIV through her positions as a board member of the Positive Women’s Network-USA and a national advisory board of Positively Trans, a program of Transgender Law Center.
In the last 11 years Golson’s role has included supervision of Unified’s HIV Counseling and Testing Clinic, outreach, prevention and education efforts. His nearly 30 years of HIV prevention work includes 13 years with the agency formerly known as the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project as their program director and four years with the American Red Cross in their AIDS Education Department. Golson has developed and/or facilitated various HIV/STI workshops, trainings and interventions such as Peer/Opinion Leader Training, Cultural Sensitivity workshops for LGBTQI2 clients, Many Men, Many Voices, Prevention Options for Positives and Healthy Relationships.
Longmire is a recent graduate of the UM with a degree in Linguistics, LGBTQ Studies and Intergroup Relations. While on campus, he played a leadership role with organizations like Michigan in Color, Central Student Government, SAPAC, Change It Up, the UMMA Student Engagement Council, and the Educational Theatre Company. He was also involved with Pedagogy of Action, an HIV/AIDS educational program on campus created and facilitated by Dr. Nesha Haniff. He is currently a Health Corps Fellow (funded by Americorps) working as the volunteer and overnight outreach coordinator for HIPS, an organization that focuses on community support, empowerment, and advocacy for communities and individuals engaged in or impacted by drug use or sexual exchange in Washington D.C.
Student programming at UMMA is supported by the UM Credit Union Arts Adventures Program, UMMA’s Lead Sponsor for Student and Family Engagement.