Arts

Atlanta Teens Bring Awareness To HIV Risk In Young People

Darion Thompson performs a solo during Moving in the Spirit and VOX’s collaboration '‘Getting Down To Zero.’'
Darion Thompson performs a solo during Moving in the Spirit and VOX’s collaboration '‘Getting Down To Zero.’'
Credit WAYNE JACKSON

Two groups of Atlanta teens have joined together to tackle an important issue.

Moving in the Spirit is a nationally recognized youth development program that empowers children and teens through dance, and VOX Teen Communications does similar work through media.

Their project, “Getting Down To Zero,” aims to bring awareness to HIV and show how young people are at risk.

Dana Lupton, the co-founder and executive director of Moving in the Spirit, and 20-year-old Darion Thompson, a proud alumnus of the program, spoke with Lois Reitzes about the collaboration.

“It’s bringing full awareness to AIDS and HIV,” said Thompson.

Lupton said, “HIV is an equal opportunity virus, and the uptick of HIV/AIDS in the Southern states is hitting kids 18 to 24.”

The groups have been working on the project since February and performed at Morehouse College earlier this week.

Thompson, who performs a solo dance, described the reaction there: “When we first started performing, there was a little chatter in the background; they weren’t really paying attention, but as the performance went on, they saw how deep the message we were trying to send was, and they were just like ‘Wow’.”

Saturday at 4 p.m., Moving in the Spirit and VOX will present “Getting Down To Zero” at The New Schools at Carver, targeting an even younger crowd.

“We tested the choreography throughout this process, because we knew it was going to be sensitive,” Lupton said. “We knew it’s personal. You know, I don’t want to think about my 13-year-old niece having to make these choices. But I also want to be able to equip all of our young people with information because information is power.”

This story is part of American Graduate, Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.