Fall 1998 - Beginnings
Our first newsletter was written during the summer/fall of 1998. We had just moved our computer from Pat's dining room to our first three room office over looking Connecticut Avenue, NW and Dupont Circle. That computer sat on the floor for a long time as we didn't have a single piece of furniture. What we did have though was an incredible passion and motivation to ensure that women would not be isolated with their diagnosis but rather would find sisterhood and support in joining our 'collective.' We have come a long way since then.
But back in 1998, not unlike today, women were dying with AIDS at an incredible pace and many of those who we connected with were soon lost. One woman in particular from those days was Debbie P. who passed away in March 1998 but not before she fought a system that would not allow her to keep her children with her in supportive housing. She joined us at the table in those early days and spoke out to providers and policy makers so that other women did not have to experience the loss of their children simply to have a roof over their head.
The phrase "sisters in the struggle" comes from Debbie, as she always reminded us that we were sisters in the struggle and she was right! Debbie continues to be an inspiration to us and to all the women who have come after her through the use of that simple and powerful phrase.
We found the first four pages of that newsletter, which contain Pat's story that we want to share with you.