Finding Focus Amidst the Spin


If you’re a passionate person who cares about equality and justice, the flurry of news and political gossip makes it difficult to focus on a cause. How do we tune out, to tune in?

Finding the truth means going beyond the narrative. People can frame facts and statistics to prove their point. I believe truths are reflected in society: Seek information that gives clear insight, determine your path, then take action.

My documentary, Dirty 30, looks at social justice through the lens of HIV and AIDS. HIV has been a global crisis for over 30 years. Until recently, the narrative of HIV mainly included “facts” that painted people infected with HIV as deserving victims. So what did we do as a population? We listened to those stories, and we turned our backs on people with HIV. As a person who didn’t get it, we began to wonder, Is it even still a problem? Then the number of infections started to rise in groups we wouldn’t have fathomed based on what we thought we knew.

The demographics of HIV speak volumes about education and wealth disparities. They also highlight systemic discrimination in areas of race, gender and sexuality. These social justice issues have far-reaching implications, one of which is adding fuel to this pandemic.

#GenEndIt is making the boldest statement yet in the conversation around AIDS: We can end AIDS in our lifetime. This campaign is possible now that we have the information on what’s perpetuating this global crisis. To realize a future without AIDS, it is on us to face and end these injustices. It might take time to see the truth, and it requires patience and perseverance.

News has become a source of entertainment. The feed is fast and forever long. I’m not suggesting we all turn a blind eye to the news. Rather, look at it for what it is and side-step the manipulation.

So here we all are, looking for truth and desiring change. Don’t let the spin fool you. You are powerful, and your vision for the future is within your reach. I’m excited to join MCON this year, as it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to tune into universal truths and uncover tangible actions.

Hannelore Gomes, documentarian, editor, producer, actor, will be speaking at MCON 2017 on June 6.

Ali Noorani gives a speechMCON attendees at registration desk