March 15, 2010 was a very exciting day for me. After more than a lifetime of dreaming and a year of writing, editing, photo shoots and all around hard work I self-published my first book, Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down.
At the time I was working professionally in HIV prevention and HIV/AIDS awareness was a passion of mine so publishing a book of erotic fiction with an emphasis on HIV education was right up my alley.
Two years prior I was published in Zane’s Succulent Chocolate Flava 2 so it would also seem that erotica was right up my alley!
Truth is, erotica is really not my genre of choice. Sure, I’m good at it. Damn good if I may toot my horn, but I had no intention of releasing book after book of erotic fiction. Many of the short stories I have written are quite unusual and have a sci-fi feel like Love no haha.
These days creative writing has taken a back seat much to my surprise and I have no plans to publish a book (paperback) anytime soon. Ebooks however are another thing . There may be more projects that I will release electronically like I did with The Half Series: When Black People Look White, which started as a blog series on this website.
Being a self-published author is almost a thankless job that often results in low sales and no recognition. It’s tough as a writer to do something you love and not be successful at it.
But hey, those are the breaks!
HIV continues to be a major problem for African-Americans and that is why I wrote Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down.
I got nothing. Just check this article out – Homeless Man Offers All His Money To Help Student Get Home, But What She Did In Return Is Spectacular | If You Only News.
Listen as you read:
“I’m excited to be partnering with a beauty brand like Ampro. Their gel and styling products are a staple in my hair care regime, and that of many African-American women,” said Broadbent. “With African-American women at a higher risk for contracting HIV, Ampro is standing with me to be a part of the solution. So, I want to encourage women to get tested for HIV, and to know their status.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the estimated rate of new HIV infections for African-American women is 20 times that of White women and almost 5 times that of Hispanic/Latino women. Since 1988, World AIDS Day has united the international community in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Broadbent has made it her life’s mission to raise public awareness about HIV/AIDS, the importance of getting tested and the stigma that comes with living with the disease. Broadbent is telling her coming of age story in hopes of empowering African-American women and girls to take care of their bodies – mentally, spiritually and physically.
“We’re happy to welcome Hydeia as the new face of our brand and new “A Positive Message” campaign. By partnering with Hydeia, we’re hoping to share the message of her positive life with consumers nationwide,” said Camille Wright, vice president of public relations, Ampro® Industries, Inc.
Learn more about what you can do to support Broadbent in the fight against HIV/AIDS at hydeiabroadbent.com.
As I’m doing some Back to School shopping at the Salvation Army I find myself in a conversation with an older Black man who after seeing me pull my wallet out to pay for my items says, “I wish I had seen you pull your wallet out before I went to the car to get my money. He’s joking of course, but I tell him, “Nope. You did the right thing by going to get your own money.” We laugh.
A few moments later as I am paying with my debit card in a separate check out lane, he says to me, “I knew I should of had you pay for my stuff!” He’s still joking, but I’m wondering why he’s obsessed with me and this particular joke. I don’t give a damn if we are at the Salvation Army, you can pay for your own shit. I tell him, “I only spent $14. We’re both shopping here so we must be in the same situation.” “What situation is that?” he asks. I reply, “We’re poor.”
That’s when he got even louder. “Oh no! I’m not claiming that! I’m not poor.” I started to tune him out and by this time I was on my way out the store. He’s still going on and on and as I am walking out, I say, “I am poor. It’s the truth and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
I understand his attitude, but I think it stinks and it’s stupid. I hear it all the time – “Stop claiming that you’re poor.” Why? I AM poor! As if saying I’m poor is why I’m poor or as if I start saying I’m rich that my bank account will magically swell up.
I am poor.
Besides, why else would I be shopping at places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill or other various consignment stores if I could afford new clothes? Granted, even if I was living comfortably I would still shop at these places, but not as often as I do now.
I’m one of many. There are millions of poor people in America and all over the world. I don’t know about anyone else, but it was not my dream to grow up and struggle for a living. However, I will not let the stigma of the word “poor” make me feel ashamed of my current situation.
This week as I was preparing to take my daughter to the dentist, my car would not start. My car, a ’97 Ford Escort, has been giving me the blues for many years by way of draining my wallet of any extra money. I am currently unable to get it up and running which means I cannot work outside of the home at my job as an HIV Testing Counselor and Community Health Advocate for Wellness AIDS Services.
I have created a Go Fund Me campaign and I am asking anyone who is capable or inspired to do so to please donate. Click the highlighted words below for more info. Thanks!
If you’re HIV-positive, it can be very scary to tell others you’re carrying a life-threatening virus. The virus that causes AIDS – a disease still stigmatized by society. Telling others you’re HIV-positive is known as ‘disclosure’. It’s good to know what to say, who to tell and who not to tell.
DO… get some counseling to help fight stigma
Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma and negative feelings associated with HIV/AIDS. So people’s reactions could be extreme when you tell them. This is the first thing you need to know while deciding to disclose your HIV positive status. You get might feel guilty, ashamed and even unworthy of living. But keep in mind that it could happen to anyone and it’s not your fault. If people react negatively, it’s good to remember that this is just one person. Not everyone will have the same reactions. And keep it mind that hearing your status might scare them. They may come around later on. Give them some time to digest the information. They might need it, just like you did.
DO… tell your partner
The one important person you will have to own up to is your partner, especially if the two of you are having sex without a condom. It’s important to tell your partner for two reasons: they could also be infected and should get tested as soon as possible to find out.
Secondly, if you are having unprotected sex, you could infect them, or, if they are positive already, re-infect them. You should prepare yourself for your partner’s reaction. They may be angry, sad, scared, or maybe they will even want to break up with you straight away. Give them some space and time to digest the information; it will be difficult for them, just like it was hard for you. If you are scared of telling your partner, or you don’t know how to, you can ask a VCT-counsellor for help. Most of them can either give you tips, or they can do it together with you.
Read full story via Do’s and Don’ts: Telling Others You Are HIV+ | The Star.
Women who had unprotected sex with bisexual partners accounted for most of the new female HIV cases in the city last year, according to a new Health Department study.
Of the 647 women diagnosed with HIV in 2012, more than three of four — 480 — had sex with infected men, the study said.
During the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, many women contracted HIV from having sex with men who carried the deadly virus from drug use, particularly sharing needles that had contaminated blood. Or the women abused drugs themselves..
But in recent years, the transmission HIV — the immune system-destroying virus that can lead to full-blown AIDS — related to drug use has plunged as a factor in newly reported cases.
That means women are contracting HIV from men who’ve had sex with other men, officials aid.
“Men who engage in sex both with men and women can acquire HIV from a male partner and then transmit the virus to female partners,” the Centers for Disease Control said.
In one HIV study, one in three black men, one in four Hispanic men and one in seven white men reported having unprotected sex with women as well as men.
“However,” the CDC said, “these women may not have known of their male partners’ sexual activity.”
Black women accounted for two-thirds of the 647 new HIV cases. Hispanics accounted for 27 percent and whites, 7 percent.
“In 2012, the HIV diagnosis rate among black females was over three times the rate among Hispanic females and over 12 times higher than the rate among white females,” the Health Department analysis said.
Locally and nationally, black residents — both male and female — suffer the highest rates of HIV/AIDS. Health officials say both HIV and bisexual and gay sex remain taboo topics in the black community.
“Stigma, fear, discrimination, homophobia, and negative perceptions about HIV testing can also place too many African Americans at higher risk. Many at risk for infection fear stigma more than infection and may choose instead to hide their high-risk behavior rather than seek counseling and testing,” the CDC said.
Both city and federal officials have promoted condom use and HIV testing to reduce the spread of the sexually transmitted disease.
The study found that 1,578 people died from AIDS in the city in 2012, down from 1,690 in 2011.
Men still account for eight in 10 of the new cases, mostly transmitted through unprotected gay sex.
In total, there were 3,141 new cases of HIV and 1,889 full-blown AIDS cases, down from 3,404 HIV and 2,208 AIDS in 2011. The number of HIV cases dropped more than 25 percent since 2008.
There are 114,926 people believed to be living here with HIV/AIDS – up from 113,319.
Christmas is renowned for being a time for giving, where families and friends meet up to exchange thoughtful presents as a token of their appreciation. However, Christmas is also renowned for being one of the busiest times of the year for charities – as people are finalizing their shopping lists, preparing to make travel arrangements as well as businesses shutting up shop over the festive period; resulting in less trade. However, you can make a difference – simply by making a donation to your chosen charity when sending out your Christmas cards.
All for a good cause
Whilst many may have every intention to make a charitable donation at Christmas, by the time factors such as buying presents/attending Christmas parties/spending time with the family have been accounted for, making a contribution to a good cause often ends up being less of a priority. A survey conducted in 2011 found that 1 in 5 people claim to donate more to charities during Christmas; yet a similar statistic admitted that they found it more difficult to give. When it came to recognizing what Christmas means most to the respondents, 6 per cent stated ‘purchasing something from a charity’, 3 per cent ‘giving money to charity’ while 1 per cent said ‘volunteering for a charity’.
Driver of Ideas for nfpSynergy, Joe Saxton, says: “Charities cannot take Christmas for granted. Almost as many people say they find it harder to give as say they are more likely to give to charity at Christmas. As Sir Cliff will have us all know, charities at Christmas time must compete with mistletoe and wine, children singing and logs on the fire – not to mention much-loved in-laws, ruthless bargain hunting and soapy cliffhangers!
“That all said, ‘bar humbug’, one must surely concede that the ‘Season of Goodwill’ still affords opportunities of Dickensian proportions for those charities that work hard to cut through all the sherry and tinsel, to hug at merry hearts.”
Sending your season’s greetings
However, according to the article (as reported by nfpSynergy), 49 per cent of those surveyed said they “usually buy charity Christmas cards” while 31 per cent said they were “more likely to buy a product that makes a donation to charity at Christmas”. With these insights in mind, why not combine the two – and send a Christmas card whilst at the same time, make a donation to your favorite charity? Not only will you be sending loved ones holiday cheer, you can also help make a significant difference to a worthwhile cause – which for many charities, serves as the perfect Christmas gift.
Charity begins at home
With many sites offering this service, getting started couldn’t be simpler. Simply pick a design, personalize your message, then select the charity you want to donate to. Once that’s done, the card will then display your charity’s logo so your recipient knows you’ve made your donation – which in turn will hopefully raise awareness and get them donating too! So go on, spread the message this Christmas – literally – by sending a card and donating to a charity today.
Article submitted by freelance blogger Rachael Blakewood on behalf of Christmas card specialists, Christmas Connections.
November saw Prince William’s charity gala for Centrepoint, and as usual, it was a star-studded affair. The Prince is the trustee for the charity and this fundraiser saw him get on stage and sing with Bon Jovi – something most of us could never have imagined we’d see.
However, Jon Bon Jovi was not just at the event to sing. He was also there to receive an award for the work he does through his Soul Foundation. Apart from participating in at the occasional rock benefit gig, you don’t often think of rock stars as charity workers, although many do contribute through their music and other activities.
Here are 5 unlikely stars who do a lot of work for charity.
Miley Cyrus hit the headlines this year with her risque and controversial on stage performances. Despite courting controversy in her singing career, she is an avid charity worker, providing support to a range of charities including Amnesty International and the Make-a-wish Foundation. On one of her recent tours, one dollar from every ticket sold was sent to the charity City of Hope. She also helped to found Get Ur Good On, an organizations which strives to create more opportunities for young people to get involved in charity work.
As another star who has frequently courted controversy through his music, Eminem could be seen as an unlikely candidate for doing charity work. However, in his time away from the music world, he has founded the Marshall Mathers Foundation, a charitable organization which helps disadvantaged youths across America.
Nowadays, Bob Geldof is known more for his charity work than his music. However, in the early eighties, he was known as an outspoken and controversial rock star. That all started to change in 1981 when he performed at The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball for Amnesty International. Band Aid and Live Aid quickly followed, and to this day, the star continues dedicating his time to helping some of the poorest people in Africa.
Lil Wayne is no stranger to jail. Having being arrested on several occasions and spending time in prison, you’d be forgiven for balking at the idea of this rapper giving his time to charity. However, he is a prolific supporter of a variety of charitable causes, including the Carter Fund and the Motivational Edge charity. He also helped to launch the DEWeezy campaign which helps to encourage creativity in young people in America.
Madonna was renowned for a series of controversial pop videos and performances in the 1980’s. However, she has also spent a huge amount of her time working for different charities. Apart from her many charity performances, she co-founded the Raising Malawi charity. Raising Malawi raises money for the poor of Malawi and hopes to help lift the country out of poverty.
Charity work can be undertaken by anyone, regardless of their personal life or history. Despite some of these stars attracting a certain reputation throughout their careers in the music industry, they have all provided a meaningful contribution to people in need, whether they are close to home or on the other side of the world.
By Sam Wright
Sam Wright is writing on behalf of Third Sector Jobs.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Contains 501 words
When you are in recovery, you do a lot of work focusing on yourself and the ways you can improve your life and your world view to find more peace and happiness. It may seem that recovery is all about yourself, but helping others around you can actually serve to help you too. Here are ten reasons why.
1. You Can Cultivate Gratitude
A large part of maintaining a solid sense of peace and happiness is remaining aware of the things you are grateful for. Helping those less fortunate than you can help you remain aware of the things in your life that you have, rather than focusing on what you wish you had or what you have lost.
2. You Can Remind Yourself Of Important Lessons
As you move through recovery, you may be aware of the thoughts and principles that helped you get sober in the first place, but perhaps they have moved from the forefront of your conscious. Helping someone who is new to recovery can be a “refresher course” in important values and ideas.
3. It Increases Your Self Esteem
The better you feel about yourself, the less likely you are to use. Doing something good for another person helps increase your self worth, which does wonders for your mindset.
4. It Gives You the Opportunity to Meet Other Positive People
Volunteering for an organization has the wonderful added benefit of allowing you to interact with other people who are interested in becoming a positive force. Successful recovery often means staying surrounded by the right people, so this can be a great way to stay healthy!
5. You May Discover a New Interest
Becoming engaged in the world in any way can be a great way to find interests you didn’t even know you had. For example, perhaps by taking a friend in need on a hike in their favorite area, you’ll ignite your own passion for the outdoors.
6. It Helps You Stay Focused On What Is Important in Life
It is easy for all of us to become side tracked by the myriad of distractions and temptations we face every day. Helping others is a wonderful reminder that human connection is the most valuable thing we could ever hope to attain.
7. You Will Be Too Busy To Fall Into Bad Habits
For many people, boredom can become a trigger to use. Boredom is simply what happens when we are not using ourselves to our full potential. Helping others is a great way to spend time in an invigorating and useful way.
8. You Will Be Inspired
Often times helping someone else means getting to witness progress that they make. Watching first hand as someone makes steps towards progress is a wonderful way to remind yourself of the accomplishments you have the ability to make.
9. You Will Become a More Compassionate Person
Becoming exposed to someone else’s struggles can help you be more aware of what others are going through, making you more generally compassionate and empathetic.
Cindy Nichols is an intervention specialist and treatment advisor, and frequently posts blogs about addiction recovery.
Donating money via text is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to fundraise. There are charities across globally that have developed this technique due to the success it’s brought. Charities have realized that the longer people leave it to donate money, the less likely they are to donate and bearing this in mind, donations via text are more successful than most other techniques, especially when there’s marketing campaign involved.
In light of the recent disaster in the Philippines, there has been and will continue to be many donators from around the world who choose to donate their money by text to help those who are in desperate need. Just like with other disasters whereby people are left homeless, without food and so forth, there’s always as an option for donators to donate directly to the charity by text. There are however, some reservations that people don’t think about at the time of donating by text and never realize even after they have made their donation.
On the other hand, is it not a good idea to get people donating straight after a disaster in order to be able to raise more funds even if it’s not going to the cause that it appears to be going to? Or is this a case of mass miss-leading? After all it is the donator’s money and should have a right to know where their money is going to end up, but would this make donating money too complicated in terms of enabling the customer to understand where the money is being used and would less people be willing to donate?
There are many issues for those donating and there are questions that need answering by the donators themselves, some of which include the following:
So, by answering each point will help to identify solutions to the potential issues listed above:
This may seem a silly question to ask oneself when donating to a charity, however, there are many fake charities set up that aims to pull on a person’s heart strings at the time of a crisis and illegally receive charity donations. Not many will ask themselves this question when donating; especially when all a person wants to do is to help those in need more-or-less straight away.
There are organized gangs that set up false premium numbers and this type of setting is perfect for them to strike. Not only stealing from donators, but those who need it. Policing it would be very difficult; gangs can set up a premium number and before you know it, the gang has moved on to their next quest.
So, you’ve seen an advert asking for a certain donation amount and you’ve decided you want to donate and the easiest way right there is via text. There are three things to consider before donating via text:
You may think you know everything there is to know about a charity when you’re donating; well you’ve seen all the ads, they’re promoting themselves for a good cause, they’re a well-known charity and a natural disaster has just occurred, so why not donate by text?
Well, charities themselves don’t even know what they’re going to do with the donations. The donation itself may not go towards the reason for their appeal on TV. Some money may go to a disaster like the most recent one in the Philippines, however, the charity will not know exactly what to do with the money and may even decide that most of the money raised from that appeal will go towards other areas i.e. paying rent on premises, admin fees, charity owner’s wages etc. There are lots of things the money can go on before it even touches the place where you have wanted to donate your money to.
As a charity can quite easily create a marketing campaign that is designed to get you to donate, but:
Andrew Carnegie said, “It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it in the first place.” And in the case of charitable donations, it’s easier to raise money with an emotional appeal than it is to spend those donations wisely on the right programs that help the right people in the right way.
Don’t give up giving money to those who need it, but just be more ware of what happens to your hard-earned money. After all, you don’t want your money to go to waste and you want to donate it to a charity that treats your donation with as much care as possible. Just The best way to do this is not to look at how famous or big the charity is, but to research what the charity does, how long it’s been established and if there’s any recent news in relating to what they have achieved in the past year or so.
People can still use the older, more traditional methods for collecting donations; charity collecting tins, collection buckets or just by simply going into a charity shop and buying clothing and items in order to go towards that specific cause.
Ann, the author of this article has many years experience in the charity fundraising sector and with that comes vast knowledge of how and what charities do to promote their campaigns.
The holidays are a time of giving, and instead of doling out material possessions, considering donating your time through volunteering. If you’re interested in giving the best possible holiday gift, consider the following seven ways to volunteer this holiday season.
1. Volunteer at a hospital.
Hospitals are always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of jobs. You may be responsible for greeting people as they come in, bringing flowers or gifts up to patients or simply spending time with people who have been in the hospital for long periods of time. If you’re interested in volunteering at a hospital, contact your local hospitals and ask if they’re accepting volunteers.
2. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
The holidays are a hard time for some people, and soup kitchens provide a great way for homeless individuals to not only get hot meals, but to also seek some shelter. There are soup kitchens located all around the US, so find a soup kitchen near you, contact them, and offer to volunteer your time.
3. Volunteer at a school.
Teachers work hard to educate today’s youth, and they often need help. You can volunteer at a school and help teachers grade papers, read books to students or help with lessons. You can even volunteer your time in the office at some schools or in the library.
4. Volunteer at a local non-profit.
Find non-profit organizations in your area and volunteer your time. You may be able to collect donations from other people, deliver meals to the sick or elderly, host a bake sale or any other type of job they need you to do. There are plenty of non-profit organizations in need of help, so offer up your time whenever you can.
5. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
Animal shelters are home to hundreds of homeless pets, and these organizations typically thrive on donations from the public and grants from the government, which mean they don’t have the means to pay full-time employees. Offer yourself up to volunteer at an animal shelter. You can do anything from walk the dogs, clean cages and even run background checks on potential pet adopters. If you love pets and want to give them love and company during the holiday season, consider volunteering at an animal shelter.
Along with volunteering your time at an animal shelter, you can take volunteering one step further and volunteer to become a foster home for pets. Oftentimes, shelters become overcrowded, and the best way to keep these animals safe is to place them in foster homes. If you have the space and time to dedicate to caring for an animal, volunteering to be a foster parent to a pet can be a great way to share your time this holiday season.
6. Volunteer at a church.
Churches are often busy during the holiday season, and they are always in need of volunteers to help them with a variety of services. You can volunteer to teach Sunday School, host a church event, help with other church functions or even run a daycare for churchgoers. You have many options, so contact your church to find out exactly how you can help.
7. Volunteer as a translator.
If you are multilingual, a great way to give this holiday season is to volunteer as a translator. There are plenty of volunteer translator opportunities out there for you to do. Reach out to non-profit organizations that have a multicultural presence, such as The Rosetta Foundation and offer your translation skills for free. You’ll be amazed at just how many volunteer opportunities there are for translators.
Elizabeth Adkins is a retired school teacher who donates her time to helping children learn to read. Elizabeth often writes articles that share ways people can donate their time to their own communities.
Temporarily setting the shop conflicts aside, Monday night’s episode of Black Ink Crew takes a moment to reflect on the past. After a customer with AIDS requests a tattoo of the AIDS ribbon, the typically guarded Ceaser shares his own connection to the disease.
“My father died of AIDS,” Ceaser said. “I didn’t know him my whole life, and when I actually got to meet him he just died.” Find out more about Ceaser’s past by watching the sneak peek above, and tune in to an all-new episode of Black Ink Crew on Monday at 9:30 pm ET/PT.
The planet we live on is extremely fragile and we don’t do it any favors by the way we use and abuse it. So many of us are extremely wasteful and have zero regard for the damage we are causing and the potential long term damage also. I totally understand that it is a very hard thing to quantify but we need to start trying a lot harder otherwise we are in danger of letting things slip too far and potentially go past the point of no return.
There are so many cool ways that we can help to protect our planet from further damage, all people need is a little incentive and education. I believe this has to come from the top (government), these are the people who are listened to and if the education is filtered down through the government to local councils then I believe more people will take it on board.
We live in a world that is filled with waste and the methods of saving are just so simple, people need to take a step back and appreciate just how good we have it. This article will highlight the best ways out there for us to help our planet.
One of the simplest and most effective ways of saving money is in the home. How many of you leave the tap running when you brush your teeth? And leave the lights on during the day? These are just two of the simplest ways to save cash in the home while also helping to protect the environment. We live in a world that is filled with waste and so many people just don’t care about it.
It is the view of so many that the energy we have is expendable and doesn’t cost anything. People aren’t malicious, they are just very lazy and aren’t educated about the damage we are causing due to our outright laziness.
There are so many ways to save money and protect the environment at the same time and as soon as people hear about them they really will start to adapt.
Investing a little cash can do a lot, I don’t mean you personally I mean big business and governments. Renewable energy is a brilliant thing and there are so many companies out there such as Vector Foiltec that offer effective and aesthetically pleasing forms of renewable energy that can dramatically reduce a company’s carbon footprint. We just don’t know about these businesses and that is why education is key.
We need to be educated about the options out there. It is down to governments and local councils to provide us with all the information we need to start helping protect our wonderful planet. People aren’t going to go out and find it, they need to be told about it and that is down to the people who run the country.
If you are interested there are hundreds of websites that can provide you with all the neat tips for protecting the planet.
Andrew is an author with a love for the environment. He has over 10 years industry experience and enjoys writing about ways to prevent further damage to our planet