Last week in Teen Spirit we had a visit from some activists from ACT-UP London to give a presentation and facilitate a creative thinking session. It prompted member of Teen Spirit to think about what the struggles were when HIV first came about, and the hundreds of people who fought for the affordable, available and effective medicine that we have today. It also gave members a chance to think about the struggles that are still real today for those living with HIV.
Dan Glass from ACT-UP facilitated a workshop after his colleague Brian gave a presentation to the whole group. Dan started the session by saying ‘in this workshop we want you to ask questions, we want you to disobey the rules, feel free to storm out, shout out and voice your opinions… today we are all activists and your first lesson is to disobey whoever is in power’.
During the creative thinking session, members were encouraged to brainstorm ideas on the following: targets, allies, media and format for HIV activism. Here is something one member produced:
An important element of this exercise was highlighted by one of the teens. She put ‘herself’ as a target and an ally. She explained that her own self can be the target of pain and self-destruction, but can also be the only ally at times, and can bring herself out of dark times. Another one of the members explained “the exercise made me feel like I have more allies than I thought”.
Many thanks to Dan and Brian at ACT UP for an inspiring and informative session that really got us thinking!