“The passion you share for our work can generate a wider circle of change”

Dear Friend of The Women’s Collective,
We have much to be thankful for this holiday season and you are at the top of our list! The financial support you provide makes such a profound difference in our ability to serve women and girls in the Washington DC area.  For over twenty years TWC has provided a wide range of health and social support services, including mental health.
 
Despite changes in the health care landscape and the lack of resources available to community based organizations, TWC continues to make a difference in the lives of women, girls and their families.  Thanks to the incredible efforts of our staff, volunteers and friends like you, we remain committed to our community. 
 
As you celebrate with loved ones this holiday season, will you help us provide for families who are less fortunate? We hope you will consider TWC in your year-end giving during this holiday season. 
 
As you celebrate with loved ones this holiday season, will you help us provide for families who are less fortunate? We hope you will consider TWC in your year-end giving during this holiday season. 
Your donation can provide the following :
$10: Transportation to health and social services appointments.
$30: School supplies and a uniform for a child
$50: An HIV or Hep C test, a hot meal for a family of four
$75: Groceries for one week

$100: Individual and family therapy

You can donate by sending a check directly to The Women’s Collective, via Network for Good, or the Catalogue for Philanthropy. You can also help by inviting your friends and family to support The Women’s Collective.

The passion you share for our work can generate a wider circle of change,

thank you for your kindness and please stay in touch!
Sincerely,
 
Patricia Nalls
Founder/Executive Director 
The Women’s Collective
202-483-7003
“When I was at my lowest point, The Women’s Collective was there to not only lift me up, but to show me that I had a lot to live for.  I’m here today because of TWC!”
Donate Now
-Dana S (TWC client).

Fighting for Our Lives

After 25 years of providing HIV support services through The Women’s Collective to women of color living with HIV, Patricia Nalls reflects on how far we have come, and why we are still fighting for our lives.

Twenty five years ago, if you had told me I’d be leading the advocacy and fighting for the lives of women living with HIV in metropolitan D.C. area, I wouldn’t have believed you. I was young, married and in love, had three beautiful children. Then HIV/AIDS intercepted my perfect life, my American dream. Nothing can describe the feeling you get, when you are handed a piece of paper with a four letter death sentence – AIDS. Unless you have experienced the loss of loved ones, it may be hard to imagine the heartbreak I still feel for losing my husband and my youngest child to AIDS. But more than that, was the despair of being an insignificant statistic in the disease that was being called a “Gay Related Immune Deficiency.” 35 years into the epidemic, the face and the color of HIV has changed. In 2016, 1 in 4 people living with HIV are women. In the District, 9 out 10 women living with HIV are black. I can share my story because my grief and my despair gave me the strength I never knew I had, to fight for my children, and fight on behalf of women.

Twenty five years ago, I was newly diagnosed with AIDS, scared, lonely and stigmatized. Realizing that there had to be others like me, I started a secret women’s phone-support group that became The Women’s Collective (TWC). 8 million services later, we remain D.C.’s only agency that focuses on women as a “whole person.” As women often do, we take care of children, partners and parents, before we look after ourselves. Many a day our HIV status gets lost in the daily struggle of making a living. TWC is that essential safe space that offers women the services and support they need. We’re here to provide a space where women become empowered, and barriers to their healthcare such as food, transportation, child care, employment, housing…are eliminated. Most importantly, we help women find their voices to advocate for themselves to their family, their doctors, their political leaders, and their president. Right here in the nation’s capital, in the shadow of the Capitol and The White house, is one of the highest episodes of HIV in the country.

Twenty five years ago, as a woman, I was not allowed to participate in the first clinical trials for the first HIV medication, AZT. I have a vivid memory of that phone call, begging and crying to be included in the trial for the sake of my children who were about to become orphans. Today, I stand in our nation’s capital, representing women around the nation. I reflect on how far we have come and where we go from here. Scientific advances like Prevention against Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) that could have saved my child; Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a pill taken just once a day to prevent HIV that could have prevented me from contracting HIV from my husband. National policies like the Ryan White Care Program, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that have made it impossible for many women like myself to be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

Today, in the face of a new administration, how do we protect our right to health? Can we raise our voices collectively to be heard in these uncertain times? Can we unite to fight for our lives? Why do we need to fight for our lives you ask? Because HIV is now a disease of the poor and marginalized; the same people dying of diabetes and heart disease, substance abuse and violence, are dying of HIV. Because the drugs and medical care to live healthy with HIV are unaffordable without Ryan White Services and ACA; Because women are still underrepresented in clinical trials. Because more black women are dying of HIV than any other affected population. We need to fight because HIV has to be stopped from killing black women.

Pat Nalls is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Women’s Collective. Her story launches our monthly blog series “Collectively Speaking.” Next, we want your stories of courage, survival and hope. We are uniting in the fight to save our lives, one story at a time. For more info: www.womenscollective.org

Sisters Helping Sisters to Thrive…This Spring and Summer at The Women’s Collective!

What is all the excitement about this spring? Well The Women’s Collective’s Care Team is busy as bees making sure activities are blooming for you. Taking a fresh lead in providing services for women of color in the District of Columbia, our task is to ensure that your needs are met. We are looking forward to the participation of new as well as old familiar faces that we have not seen for some time, engaging in our fresh new curriculum. We have developed a calendar of events that are ongoing and some are for a limited time to empower you with skills to succeed in this ever changing time.

SabrinaWe started out April and May with a variety of successful groups addressing vital issues of your concerns and are looking forward to their continued growth. The months of May and June promises to deliver even more participation in these activities as the weather becomes more favorable to getting out and about. We have really put our heads together this time to create a diverse agenda that awaits your participation.

Let’s see what we have in store!  “Lunch and Learn Series VI”, is bringing the fireside chat UP Close and Personal this month with conversations selected by the group. (What do you have a burning desire to discuss that, until now, you have been reluctant to talk about?) Our Lunch and Learn groups have been strictly educational in the past and now, we are making an effort to create an agenda that will also cover subjects that matter to and are suggested by the women we serve. Our goal is to make sure your needs are met. Having an opportunity to have an open and honest dialogue with other women with similar concerns is the opportunity of a lifetime to make sure your voice is heard and to build your support network.

These groups, as well as the others that we are adding to our calendar, are crucial to engaging women and girls living with HIV in care.  It’s easy for someone to sit at a desk, in a cubicle or office, and tell someone what they need to do (get to a doctor, take medication, etc.). But we have found that peer support makes all the difference in linking and retaining women in care. It’s easy for a woman living with HIV to feel isolated, desperate, and concerned about her family.  But we strive to make sure that women do not feel alone. Here at TWC they can sit together and support each other, share their struggles and successes, and tell their stories to other women who have been there. They can learn how to navigate the challenges of being a woman, being a mother, and being HIV positive from others who have faced those same challenges.

There are few things as powerful as hearing, “I lived through that. I got through that. And you can too.”

These are just a few of the things that you can expect from our fresh new approach this spring and beyond. Check our calendar, come on out and join in the activities that are being planned for the upcoming months that are fun filled and cannot be designed without you.  We are very excited and look forward to your participation in the days to come.