Former Plus cover star, DeMarco Majors, has always used his life to raise awareness for a larger cause. A survivor of sexual assault and a wonderful human being living with HIV, Majors brought together a group of friends to jumpstart a larger dialogue about stigma and how it impacts our communities for World AIDS Day.
Standup comic Sampson McCormick, actor Nick Atkinson, and activists Michelle King and Kiaron John came together to let the world know: Together we STRUGGLE, together we STRIVE, and together we SUCCEED.
The evolving campaign is certainly a community effort. As Majors tells Plus, it all began with a vision.
"It's been grooming for years and it kept getting bigger in my head," he says of the campaign. "I knew I had to do something about it. Unfortunately for me... I had to go through a lot of changes, and had to experience a lot of fear and shame in order to be able to talk openly [about HIV] and share it freely in a supportive and fun way."
Majors isn't alone. One of the major things he learned while doing the project was that most people, when discussing HIV, have only spoken about it in a way that was from hurt or a diagnosis. So, he decided to build a project that uplifts the message instead of bringing it down.
"It's about being positive, it's about support," he says. "It changes people’s perspectives on what they see that’s out there, and the education that’s out there, and the resources that are out there... Middle America is still lacking in people having the opportunity to find suport for mental health, PrEP resources, all these different things," which is why Majors has chosen to continue building more video projects to raise awareness for those who might not get it anywhere else.
"It's about the message, not the messenger," he states. "The people that this is supposed to reach are going to be from the people that were there because that's the energy of the people that are in need right now. The people that may be popular and can reach a large platform, those people might not be the people that we need to touch on a grassroots level."
That's why Majors and other activists like him are encouraging YOU — yes you, the reader — to lend your voice in honor of those we have lost and to support those who are living with HIV.
Here's what you need to do:
* MAKE A VIDEO: Lend your voice and create a (90) second or less video message of support OR that shares your own personal story/connection to the HIV/AIDS cause.
1. Share your story.
2. State your FULL NAME followed by: "Together we struggle, Together we strive, Together, we succeed."
3. Finish by saying: "Happy World AIDS Day."
Email your videos to: StruggleStriveSucceed2020@gmail.com.