This year Berkeley High’s World AIDS Day Assemblies focused on Women and AIDS/HIV. As has been the tradition in past years, a panel of the National AIDS Quilt was on display, along with Berkeley High’s own set of aids quilts. Students and staff pass through throughout the day to view the quilts.
Speakers included Piper (in the hat), a former BHS student who was first diagnosed as HIV+ by the BHS Health Center when they began testing in 1991; Cassandra Steptoe of The Medea Project, and two current BHS students (Sophie and Sarah) whose mother is HIV+ and was one of the founders of WORLD, a group of women dedicated to providing support for women with life threatening diseases.
While Piper has already shared her life story with millions she says, “in hopes to reach out enough for people to protect and love themselves before it’s too late”, and Sophie and Sara have been active in statewide AIDS organizations and outreach; this was the first time that the twins stood up together before their own student body and made the discussion personal. The twins, who have only shared this with people close to them since birth, said it just felt like it was time for them to take this step. Piper led a standing ovation for the girls.
The assemblies were organized by BHS teacher Alan Miller and the Berkeley High Health Center.
Watch for Video of Piper and Sophie and Sarah’s Stories.