AIDS activist to share story

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

The Rev. Rae Lewis-Thornton, an HIV and AIDS activist, will discuss her first-hand experience with the syndrome during  “Whispers in the Dark: The Conversations We Don’t Have” Monday night.

The talk is set for 7 p.m. at the 7th Street Underground in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Chanel Belton, ideas and issues coordinator for the University Board, said it is important to hear this information because HIV and AIDS are topics people do not talk about a lot.

On campus, Belton said, there are often opportunities to get free testing, but activists who have the syndrome have not been able to speak to the students until now, so it is the perfect opportunity to hear from one.

Lewis-Thornton has had HIV for over 30 years and AIDS for over 20.

She will share her story and experience, how her life has changed and struggles she has gone through, Belton said.

Belton said Lewis-Thornton was one of the first African-American women to tell the public she had HIV and AIDS.

Lewis-Thornton now lives in Chicago and has been touring the world talking and writing about her experiences.

Belton said she wants students who are sexually active to understand anyone can get HIV or AIDS without using condoms.

She said she hopes Lewis-Thornton’s words reach not only the black community, but also everyone in attendance.

At the talk, an Eastern student will perform a spoken word piece on HIV and AIDS.

Following that, Belton will show a video with a poem about the syndrome before introducing Lewis-Thornton.

The Health Education Resource Center will be at the 7th Street Underground from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with free refreshments and a Q&A panel will follow the discussion.


Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].