The Fall 2014 BABES Talking Newsletter is stories from women about:
‘What 25 years of BABES means to them’! Read founding Executive Director Jesse Chipps’ story below:
It’s been 25 years since I accepted Kass Anderton’s invitation to come to her house for a bring-your-favorite-take-out pot luck. That was the day I met the women who would become some of my closest friends and biggest source of support for dealing with HIV. It’s funny how a few hours can change your life, but that evening changed mine. I was in an unfamiliar neighborhood, with women I didn’t know at all, who were different from me in every way I can name…except one: we all had HIV.
I learned a lot of things that night. I laugh, now, at the closed off person I was then, and how that night broke me wide open. What did I learn? I learned that heterosexual women are not just the people who were mean to me in high school. I learned that people who are religious can also be incredibly kind and open. I learned that people who were in the military don’t necessarily have values that are different than mine. I learned that a person can be incredibly ill and incredibly strong at the same time. Most important: I learned that I could walk into a room and have my first thought be, “Oh, no…these are sooooooo not my people,” but leave, many hours later, realizing that they soooooooooo WERE my people.
For the past 25 years I have had the honor to share a meal, talk, cry and, yes, sing karaoke with BABES. We have supported each other through pneumocystis, sick kids, employment bias, mental illness, shingles, addiction, poverty, early and awful medications, lipodistrophy, domestic violence, and sometimes death. We also shared spaghetti, watching some of those kids grow into adulthood, silly art projects, and M&Ms. I know that I’m a better person for knowing the BABES, and I often question whether I would still be alive without their support. That was true 25 years ago, and it’s true today.
Nicole, Brenda, Tranisha, Kelly, Pat, and every BABE: Thanks for being there for me and for each other.
Click here to read the full newsletter!
Stella Steps Out
Thanks to everyone for an exciting event and fundraiser! Together, we raised more than $49,000 to support women living with HIV and their families! See event photos on SmugMug.
This year was also the 25th anniversary of BABES. Watch this video to see what has changed for women with HIV since 1989.
Many thanks to all who made Stella a success!