Since its official declaration 12 years ago, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day has served as an opportunity to center HIV/AIDs prevention around women and girls, who are often left out of the conversation during the other more popular recognition days and months. It’s strategically placed within national Women’s History Month – March – and right after International Women’s Day (March 8th), hoping to garner more attention and intention during a time where people are looking for more ways to observe the issues of girls and women.
But perhaps one of the more important reasons we should be recognizing and organizing for this day is because of the recent shift in political climate. Many bills have introduced that specifically attack the lives, health and education of girls and women. Bills like HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood, HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”), HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act and HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education. All of these bills disproportionately impact girls, women, LGBTQ+ communities, economically disadvantaged, Communities of Color, disabled folks and more.
When you decide to organize for this day, do work both locally and federally. The Office on Women’s Health provides several suggestions on ways to observe this NWGHAA Day on March 10th on their website. On their webpage “Ideas for Observing NWGHAAD”, local programming opportunities include hosting a candlelight vigil, documentary night, HIV testing event, interactive school assembly and more. Ways to contribute to even larger-scale change include: (1) texting your zip code to 520-200-2223 to receive contact information on your state senators and representatives so that you can contact them directly with your concerns, (2) joining national organizations in their acts of resistance (marches, rallies, protests, etc.), and (3) being vocal about these attacks on the most marginalized in our society in order to stand against this violence.