Saving Ourselves Symposium (SOS) 2017 Reflections - Ty-ron
The Saving Ourselves Symposium conference was an amazing experience and I am truly appreciative that The Movement hosted multiple individuals as scholarship recipients to attend. I liked the pre-conference activities because they allowed us to get acquainted with one another while at the same time receive some insight on some topics that we may not be as knowledgeable in. I especially appreciated the pre-conference activities that surrounded HIV/AIDS because I found it much easier to be engaged in SOS after receiving some knowledge beforehand. I also appreciated the pre-conference activities that surrounded networking, creating an elevator pitch, and the LGBTQ community in general. All those topics worked to prepare the group for the many different aspects of attending a conference in general, though specifically Saving Ourselves Symposium.
The conference piece was extremely eye opening, and I think that everyone should attend SOS or have an experience like it because of how great of an educational experience it is. Many individuals are misinformed or just don’t know much about HIV/AIDS and attending an experience like SOS could potentially help that cause. Being that majority of the time trans-individuals' experiences are left out, it meant a lot that there were two trans panels throughout the weekend where their narrative could be told and they were included in the conversation. This let me know that no matter how well-versed we believe that we are in any topic, there is always room to grow. Including the narratives of trans lives when we speak about HIV/AIDS and the problems of queer individuals of color in general is an important first step. It was also notable that there was a session of HBCU Excellence which included the voices of youth in college. It’s ironic that many times, youth voices are not heard when it comes to HIV/AIDS when those being diagnosed most fall within the 13-24 age range. So, to have youth at the forefront means a lot for preventing the contraction of HIV.
Overall, I am extremely proud to have attended the Saving Ourselves Symposium conference. I plan to continue to attend because as it evolves, and we educate ourselves more, I expect the conversation to evolve and there to be more to learn each year. Thank you for allowing me to join The Movement in attendance.