Please join us for our first live storytelling event on Friday, March 2nd, from 7pm-9:
Kathie Hiers has been at the helm of AIDS Alabama for more than 16 years. Originally from Mobile, Kathie was immersed in the tradition of storytelling throughout her childhood at Alabama’s oldest grammar school, Leinkauf Elementary (founded in 1903). Students performed each Friday and at annual events, and Kathie particularly excelled at the oratory performances. She was able to translate this skill into politics, as she has helped to persuade elected officials in DC to reform laws that hurt people living with HIV in the southern U.S. The Ryan White Act and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS are two of the major statutes that Kathie was instrumental in modernizing to better reflect the country’s HIV epidemic, which is primarily in the South, and to send resources to the people who need them most.
Laura Secord spent twenty years as a Nurse Practitioner at the 1917 Clinic. A spoken word artist and producer of community performance events, she has helped produce The Vagina Monologues, The Sister City Connection, 100,000 Poets for Change and Voices of Resistance. She has a lifelong commitment to women and the under-represented. Her poetry honors the unsung voices of women. A Pushcart nominee, her poems have appeared in the Birmingham Weekly, Arts and Understanding, The Southern Women’s Review, PoemMemoirStory, Passager, Indolent Books, Snapdragon and Burning House Press. She is the co-founder of Birmingham’s Sister City Spoken Word Collective, and an editor of their anthology, Voices of Resistance.
Shirley Selvage works at the 1917 Clinic as a Coordinator in the Prevention and Education Department. She was diagnosed as being HIV-positive in 1998. Due to HIV related stigma, Shirley remained silent about her HIV status until 2014 when she became a volunteer at 1917 clinic, then worked as an intern. During her internship, she created a workshop to help other HIV-positive people tell their story. Shirley also started a support group for newly diagnosed clients. In 2015, she was elected as the chairperson of the Patient Advisory Board at the 1917 clinic. She was also featured in the December 2016 POZ Magazine. The power she felt from speaking up about HIV and changing others perceptions of the virus convinced her to major in community health education. Shirley obtained her BS Degree in Community Health Education and Human Studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Alabama and is currently pursuing her Masters in Health Education.
Leonard Lee Smith is a resident of Birmingham, Alabama. He was awarded a Hackney literary award for short fiction in 2012. He has been gathering heartfelt and humorous stories, from behind a beauty chair for twenty years, all while giving his clients one of the most important tools to get through life, a good haircut. His learning of story craft began in childhood listening to his grandmother Ray Ceil, who was always telling stories. Listen to Lee tell his story of the best Christmas present he ever received.
Carlton V Bell II is an actor born in Seattle's WA but raised in Birmingham AL. Carlton is a graduate of Florida State University. With a background in Musical Theatre, Carlton is most known for his work in regional theatre, and Indie films such as Horror Lane & Star-Raider. He can also be seen in this current season of BET’s The Quad. He resides in Birmingham and is represented by Real People Models & Talent.
Jimmy Langley is an artist, writer, and storyteller who has published Delmont’s Slang Blade: 1000 of the Best Sayings from the State of Alabama, Tales of Oak Hill and Pearls of Pauline. He has written tour guides and conducts tours on the founding of Birmingham, civil rights, Red Mountain Park and Hoover, Alabama. He is former Administrative Director of AIDS Alabama, married to Ann and lives in Ross Bridge.
Joi Miner is a 36-year-old lesbian mother of two, from Montgomery, Al (currently residing in Birmingham) who has turned her love for the stage literature into a successful career. A full-time entrepreneur, this author, poet, editor, and storyteller, loves spending time with family and friends, listening to good music, and using her gifts to articulate the world as she sees it to the masses. Joi loves writing engaging stories, with plot twists that keep her audience on the edge of their seats! From poetry to urban fiction to