One Conversation

A Community Mobilization and Public Policy Initiative of Hyacinth

“When you keep doing funerals of loving, caring people who have been infected by that disease, all of that stigma goes away,” said Joe Carter, New Hope’s pastor, One Conversation community partner.

One Conversation came out of a discussion between Hyacinth, the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute. We were exploring ideas of how we could work with the faith community to get folks talking about the epidemic in New Jersey. HIV is hard to talk about. Sex is hard to talk about. Addiction is hard to talk about.

In that discussion, we realized that we kept coming back to the same issues that drive the epidemic, issues of social injustice—poverty, racism, and homophobia. We realized that if we addressed the whole picture—a picture of inequity—we could relieve the shame and stigma people felt. And in that decision, we decided to call the project One Conversation, because we realized that there IS only one conversation.

One Conversation is a community mobilization project, a call to action. We ask faith leaders to recognize their key role in dispelling the myths about transmission and conspiracy theories that abound within their communities; to undo the doubt and distrust of the healthcare system that further complicates the problem; to address the absence of an organized response to AIDS in the very communities most impacted, and to combat the stigma and shame that are so ingrained in our social fabric and that create the greatest barriers to prevention, care, and treatment.

These faith leaders recognize that there is a moral failure of not responding to people’s suffering—no matter how it came about.

For more information about how you can join the conversation, please contact Hyacinth’s Director of Community Organizing, Deloris Dockery, at (732) 246-0204, or e-mail her at ddockery@hyacinth.org.

One Conversation HIV/AIDS Ministry Toolkit

Everything a pastor or layperson needs to start and sustain an AIDS Ministry Program in your Church

Click here to download a copy of the Hyacinth One Conversation HIV/AIDS Ministry Toolkit.