Larry King/Jeffrey Fashion Cares Point Scholar Noël Gordon Plans Trip to Jamaica to Work on HIV/AIDS

This spring I hope to travel to Kingston, Jamaica with Dr. Nesha Haniff, a professor of Women’s Studies and African and Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her work focuses on empowerment pedagogies and marginalized populations, with an emphasis on HIV, gender, and gay identities. In Jamaica, Dr. Haniff will supervise a group of students who will use a module of HIV education she developed to engage in HIV prevention and awareness work.

Pedagogy of Action’s HIV module presentation

Pedagogy of Action’s HIV module presentation

The module is designed to educate the low literate and empower them to become second-generation teachers using the module to teach HIV prevention in their own communities. Dr. Haniff has taught the HIV module in various parts of the Caribbean, South Africa, and the United States.

As a first generation college student with limited financial resources, I am fundraising in hopes of raising enough money to join Dr. Haniff on this exciting trip and assist her with this very important work. I believe it is essential for me, an aspiring activist committed to queer liberation, to participate in this program. I am interested in going to Jamaica with Dr. Haniff because I know working with her, and the people of Jamaica, will allow me to turn theory in practice; to leverage my privilege in service of an underprivileged community; and to come back to the United States with a healthy dose of humility and global perspective. It will also be a unique opportunity for me to speak with, and learn from, LGBTQ activists who work with the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, & Gays (J-FLAG) and Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL).

Finally, there is a deeply personal reason I would like to participate in this program. My father was born, raised, and murdered in Jamaica. He was never really part of my life, so my own personal relationship to Jamaica is incredibly complicated and incomplete. By going on this trip, I hope to resolve this internal conflict. At the very least, it will be an opportunity for me to visit my father’s gravesite–something I’ve yet to do in the nine years since his death.

Thank you for reading my blog post. To learn more about my fundraising efforts click here.

This post was written by Larry King/Jeffrey Fashion Cares Point Scholar Noël Gordon
Today, Noël lives his life as an openly queer man of color at the University of Michigan where he is an undergraduate. He is majoring in Political Science and double‐minoring in Moral and Political Philosophy, as well as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Sexuality Studies. A 2012 Truman Scholar, Noël eventually hopes to pursue a career in public interest law and social policy. Learn more about Noël.