Though community activist Andrea Johnson is currently battling cancer and pursuing a law degree, in 2018, the dedicated humanitarian still managed to collaborate with Operation Turkey and It Takes A Village Foundation to help feed 1,000 people in need this Thanksgiving, while continuing to advocate for the rights of women and girls with the Positive Women’s Network-USA and her own organization, Girl U Can Do It, Inc. (GirlUCanDoIt.org)
Johnson tells Plus that GUCDII is a community-based organization focused on addressing “societal ills that negatively affect humankind. My inspiration in starting GUCDII was seeing so many youths and young adults face a lot of the injustices I faced growing up as a child. Whether it had to do with race, gender identity, domestic violence, or self-esteem — I saw I could use my life as an example to help not only youths and young adults but adults as well.”
The 47-year-old mother and grandmother is most passionate about helping women and girls escape dangerous and oppressive situations and “live their best life.” Including GUCDII and PWN (she’s co-chair of PWN Pennsylvania and was part of their inaugural policy fellowships), Johnson is associated with numerous national and international organizations that help save lives from domestic violence, human sex trafficking, and acquiring HIV.
As a woman living with HIV for “11 years, four months, and four days,” Johnson says ignorance around the condition, whether one is positive or negative, continues to be one of the biggest issues regarding HIV. “Stigma, and the lack of applied knowledge from persons living with HIV and AIDS and those who are not” are today’s biggest challenges, she says.
To help combat that stigma, Johnson also recently created the “Red, White & U HIV Anti-Stigma Photo Shoot,” a campaign that highlights beautiful, brave, and courageous women living with HIV from around the world. All we can say is — you go, girl!