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By Shavon S. Greene
We are all familiar with the AIDS crisis in Africa. Day after day the media bombards us with images of dying Africans going from infancy to adulthood in decaying bodies. These news reports have built up a stigma around HIV and AIDS within the Black and Latino communities in the US. Without the education to combat the sexually transmitted HIV, Black and Latino youths are more susceptible than ever, including those attending college. At SU, SEX S.Y.M.B.A.L.S (Sexually Conscious Youthful Mature Black And Latino Students) is forcing you to sit down and listen.
“SEX S.Y.M.B.A.L.S is an organization to change the world — students who are educated educating others and hoping to empower students,” says Timeka Williams, president of the group and a magazine journalism and international relations major.
Back in her hometown of Detroit, Williams is a part of an organization called Gospel Against AIDS, which inspired her and vice president Tasha Brown to start the organization. SEX S.Y.M.B.A.L.S, which holds a strong e-board and more than 40 members, hopes to make students aware that they are at risk for HIV and to challenge SU Health Services for “not catering to the majority of people of color,” according to Brown.
The ladies recall meeting with a representative at the SU Health Center during which the professional lacked important knowledge about the health crisis affecting students of color. Williams and Brown believe that SU Health Services should be more visible like its branches, the University R.A.P.E. and Counseling centers.
“The Health Center does not really do enough to reach out to the students. A lot of students do not know they can get free HIV-testing,” says club secretary Francis Carrero.
“There are a lot of myths and a lot of educated students that still don’t know. It’s too important. This is life or death,” says Williams. “We are going to challenge this university. We are trying to save lives…our lives. I am not going to settle.”
BONUS: Check out this SU student-produced commercial promoting AIDS Community Resources: