If I learned nothing else last Friday night in Harlem, I did get that message loud and clear.
The Baad Lamb and I walked across Central Park in tranquil early evening light and went uptown on the 6 train. We attended the screening and announcement of the winning Generation V videos sponsored by the New York City HIV Vaccine Trials Unit. This event was held at The Poet’s Den, 309 East 108th Street.
We met some very talented and beautiful people, including these men, SeanMichael Rodgers, CEO of EMBRACE TV, and his partner, the performer/songwriter Dy’Ari. Their video won the Valor Award for best video targeted to gay men. My interview with them and more after the break.
Generation V is a video contest hosted by the NYC HIV Vaccine Trials Unit (a collaboration of Project ACHIEVE and Columbia University Medical Center) and co-sponsored by Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD). The contest provided education to community members about HIV vaccine research, and got participants to create and submit original videos to be viewed and voted on by other community members. There were two competitive tracks, the Value Track, geared toward the audience of general community members who represent the many participants in the vaccine trials that have been conducted in NYC, and the Valor Track, tailored for the audience of gay men as a show of appreciation for the men who have been at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS and participants in many HIV vaccine trials. The video in each track with the most votes won $500.
All the videos screened were captivating and entertaining, and I was glad to learn about the work being done in NYC and elsewhere to develop and test potential HIV vaccines. The organizers hope the videos will encourage HIVnegative people to volunteer in the clinical trials and assure them that they cannot catch HIV through the vaccines being tested. Sharon Washington, Community Educator for the project, introduced Doctors Magdalena Sobieszczyk, MD from Columbia University and Beryl Koblin, PhD from Project ACHIEVE who described their work and their outreach.
“The goal of Generation V was to talk about HIV/AIDS in different and attractive ways that would engage the community” said Sharon Washington.
“We want to maintain a connection to the communities most affected by HIV/AIDS. This would not be possible without our wonderful volunteers who give their time in these clinical research studies. There are exciting things being done in the world of research and some of that worldwide work is happening right here in New York.” Said Dr. Sobieszczyk.
“This just one part of the community outreach program both here in New York City and in cities across the country. We also do counseling, education and treatment. Contact us at nycvaccine.org.” said Dr. Koblin.
For more information, go to nycvaccine.org.
After the screening, we attended the reception in the adjacent Poet’s Den Gallery where we met the handsome curator Martin G. Morales, who had assembled the current show of new work by legendary NYC grafitti artist George “SEN” Morillo pictured here with the Baad Lamb who is an admirer. I will leave it to the BL to write about Sen because I would not do him justice.
Here is my interview with Seanmichael and Dy’Ari, preceded by their winning video “I Declare War Generation V Anthem”.