Empowering Voices

em·pow·er
/əmˈpou(ə)r/

make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

This series aims to empower a storyteller -- a firsthand account of what HIV/AIDS and their experience means to them, their friends, family, and community. We want to educate people who watch or read these interviews to feel something, either a motive to learn more about HIV/AIDS, donate, volunteer in their community, become a partner, or purchase something from UNTIL to support the fight against HIV/AIDS. Talking to a person firsthand is as real as it gets, listening to their voices and communicating their stories is one way of uplifting them.

 

Each week we will be releasing a new episode featuring a new person with a unique story.

 

We hope you enjoy this series!

Season 2 Ep 9: Robert Sussman

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have special guest Robert Sussman! Robert is a very close friend and partner with UNTIL and has over thirty years of experience in the entertainment industry. In 2011, Robert created the first video streaming site www.Speir.TV and by 2013 Speir.TV was streaming live video mixes to people all over the world. Robert also has a strong passion for helping others and raising awareness for HIV/AIDS.

Season 2 Ep 8: Peter Oates

In this episode of Empowering Voices, we have guest Peter Oates. Peter first got his start in the field of HIV/AIDS care in 1994 when he became a nurse clinician in the Infectious Diseases Practice at University Hospital. Peter has made a major impact in New Jersey and beyond through his focus on ensuring that vulnerable populations, especially people living with or affected by HIV, have access to top-quality, compassionate care. He considers it his life’s mission, with his husband, Gary Paul Wright, to advocate for HIV and AIDS health care. The couple together founded the Newark-based African American Office of Gay Concerns, which offers free rapid HIV testing, condoms, sex education, and support groups.

Season 2 Ep 7: Ray Del Barrio

On this episode of Empowering Voices we have special guest, Ray Del Barrio. Ray has been present in the industry for more than 40 years and is an award winning Director Choreographer Producer Dancer, Singer Songwriter, and Educator. As stage director and choreographer for the Legendary Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons concert, his work performed on Broadway at the Broadway Theater. Ray has also performed with Legend Chita Rivera at Carnegie Hall and was the director, choreographer, co-producer for the musical Sisterella.

Season 2 Ep 6: Monica Johnson

On this episode of Empowering Voices we have special guest, Monica Johnson. Monica is the founder and executive director for HEROES, a nonprofit serving Northeast Louisiana communities. Monica was also recently featured on People's list of the Top 10 Women Changing the World in 2022 where she was recognized for her incredible work serving her Louisiana community and highlighted the role HEROES plays in offering local medical care, counseling and professional-skills training to HIV-positive women and men, as well as sex education to 2,500 children in rural Louisiana. Donate to HEROES

"AIDS is a social issue compounded by a lack of healthcare, poor sexual education, and unsafe places to live. My life’s work is to prevent transmission and to help those living with HIV/AIDS to live the full, happy lives they deserve." -Monica Johnson 

Season 2 Ep 5: Brenda Laribee

On this episode of Empowering Voices we have special guest, Brenda Laribee. Brenda is a senior fund development executive who caught the fundraising “bug” towards the end of her graduate school tenure, especially in relation to social justice. The AIDS epidemic was her first call to action, first volunteering with the AIDS Action Committee in Boston in the early 90s, then transferring her passion to ignite a career in the AIDS community in the Bay Area.

Season 2 Ep 4: YaaYaa Natural

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have special guests Nicole and Alex from YaaYaa Natural. YaaYaa Natural was born in Brooklyn, New York to a 2nd generation Ghanaian American family. Nicole and Alex worked as licensed clinical laboratory technologists in the New York health care system. After being frustrated with the current skin care market and lack of environmentally conscious options, they decided to create their own natural product line.

Season 2 Ep 3: David Landay

In this episode of Empowering Voices, we have special guest David Landay who sits on our board at UNTIL. David is also the founding director of www.SurvivorshipAtoZ.org, an online resource for people living with HIV and other life changing conditions. He was a founding member of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and was a Board member for the National AIDS Fund and the National Association of People With AIDS.

Season 2 Ep 2: Donna Allen

In this episode we have special guest Donna Allen. Donna began volunteering with UNTIL in 1994. The loss of her brother to complications from AIDS gave her a strong, personal desire to participate in the Foundation's work. She was elected to the Board of Directors in 1997 and is currently serving as our Chair

Season 2 Ep 1: Alondra Zamora

Welcome to Season 2 of Empowering Voices! We are starting this season with special guest, Alondra Zamora. Alondra is currently a senior in high school and grew up in Redwood City, CA. She has been an amazing intern for Until There's A Cure since the summer of 2020 where she has worked on various projects for the organization including our Empowering Voices series! 

Episode 16: Robert Davi

In this episode we have special guest Robert Davi, an American actor, singer, writer, and director who is currently starring in the new film, I Love UsThank you so much Robert for being part of our series and for your support!

Episode 15: Miss Conception

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have guest, Miss Conception. With a career spanning over twenty years, Kevin Levesque as Miss Conception, has been delighting audiences around the world with his unique style of female illusion. When not touring, Kevin Levesque donates his spare time participating in fundraising events and is a huge supporter of Until There's A Cure! Thank you for all of your support Kevin!

Episode 14: Taryn Manning

In this episode we have guest Taryn Manning, an American actress who is well known from the Netflix original series, Orange Is The New Black. Taryn has recently starred in two new films, The Gateway and Karen. Thank you so much for your support Taryn!

Episode 13: John Cunningham

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have guest John Cunningham who is the executive director for the National AIDS Memorial. Located in San Francisco, its mission, through the AIDS Memorial Grove, AIDS Quilt and inspiring programs, is to ensure that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and that the story of AIDS is known by future generations. John’s passion for improving his own quality of life through service to his community has long been his guiding principle

Episode 12: Katie Cassidy

In this episode we have guest Katie Cassidy, an American actress from Los Angeles, CA and is currently starring in the new film, I Love Us. Thank you so much for your support Katie!

Episode 11: Cody McLean

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have guest Cody McLean, who graduated from the University of Alabama in 2018 and was an intern for Until There's A Cure in 2016 where he primarily focused on public relations and advocacy, specifically HIV and the South. Cody then moved from Alabama to California and now is a case manager at Life Moves!

Episode 10: Harlow Jane

In this episode we have guest Harlow Jane an American actress and daughter to Patricia Arquette. Harlow is also starring in the new film, I Love Us Thank you so much for your support Harlow . . . Until There's A Cure!

Episode 9: Luis Aceves

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have guest Luis Aceves, a published photographer, writer, stylist, and artist who is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Luis uses his Mexican heritage and queer identity to fuel his art. His work often takes stances on social and political issues.

Episode 8: Alexander Hernandez

In this episode we have guest Alexander Hernandez, a textile and mixed media artist in San Francisco, CA. Through stitching, his work explores intersectional identities rooted in immigrant experiences, gender expectations, HIV+ survival, and queer sensibilities. Alex is also an amazing intern and brand ambassador for UNTIL.

Episode 7: Cynthia Lee Fontaine

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have guest, Cynthia Lee Fontaine who is a a drag performer from Austin, Texas. Cynthia Lee was one of 12 contestants to compete on the eighth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, and finished in tenth place and was awarded the title of Miss Congeniality. Cynthia is also a huge advocate for HIV/AIDS and Until There's A Cure.

Episode 6: Ciarra Covin

In this episode we have guest Ciarra, “Ci Ci”, Covin, a mother, speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. Not only is Ci Ci a social media affiliate for UNTIL, but her work also includes sharing her personal experiences through her own blog, Healing Is Voluntary, as well as for the international platform The Well Project and their blog A Girl Like Me.

Episode 5: Bertha Fajardo

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have special guest Bertha Fajardo who has worked for the San Francisco Giants in community relations for over 20 years. Our organization has worked very closely with Bertha over the years as the San Francisco Giants are the first team in the MLB to host Until There's A Cure Day to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS and have been our partner for 28 years. 

Episode 4: Masonia Traylor

In this episode we have guest Masonia Traylor, a mother, speaker, and an HIV/AIDS activist. Masonia has served as a youth representative for numerous AIDS Servicing Organizations and groups and has reached over 100,000 young people and millions of individuals around the world, empowering and educating them on HIV/AIDS.

Episode 3: Ben Needham-Wood

In this episode of Empowering Voices we have guest Ben Needham-Wood, an Emmy Award-winning choreographer based in San Francisco. His works have been presented nationally by professional companies, TV networks, commercial airlines, film festivals, and galas. Ben is the founder and director of Redirecting Dance and has been a part of various campaigns for UNTIL wearing The Bracelet.

Episode 2: Marco Mays

In this episode we have guest Marco Mays, a human rights advocate, author and model. Marco is the founder of M2 Cares, a humanitarian project created to promote healthy eating and living in small communities and an amazing brand ambassador for UNTIL.

Episode 1: Daequan Taylor

We picked Daequan Taylor, star of Netflix's Deaf U to be a part of our empowering voices series not only due to his willingness to raise awareness about our organization, but also for his courage to share his personal story about HIV/AIDS to the world. 

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