Janora McDuffie had a good day today. She completed the entire 67-mile leg of the the AIDS LifeCycle ride that began in San Francisco on Sunday, and will end in Los Angeles on Saturday. This is the 10th year of the annual fundraiser for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Janora raised more than $6,000 from family, friends and business associates to earn her spot in the challenge. But perhaps the most challenging thing for her today wasn’t the ride. Oh, don’t get me wrong, she is receiving a much needed massage as we speak from the aches and pains of the bike ride. But while being interviewed by a camera crew for various social media websites, she was asked, “Do you know someone who died of AIDS?” At first, she seemed perplexed by the question as if the answer “yes,” would immediately give her “street cred,” a real tear jerking reason for participating in the ride. She definitely knows people who are HIV positive, but anyone who has died of AIDS? She answered, “no, I don’t know anyone.”
But she followed up by saying what she does know: The Facts. Although she’s not infected, black woman have high infection rates of HIV. She continued by saying she didn’t see images of women of color in the pamphlets, posters and advertisements for the AIDS LifeCycle ride. She felt it was important for women of color to see someone who looks like them, taking on the ultimate challenge, a 545-mile bike ride, to raise money and awareness for the cause. Needless to say, the publicity team for the even thought the same too after meeting Janora. She’s been asked to be a “Spokesperson”, (a play on the bicycle term), for the ride.
Throughout the 7-day event, from big cities to small towns, whenever the media wants to interview a rider, the actress and NoMoreDownLow.TV, co-host is one of a hand full of riders who are willing to step in front of the camera. She’s will to not only talk about the experience of the ride, but also someone to put a recognizable face on a real life threatening challenge.
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