Featuring Menen Hailu

Love is what is most important. But people are governed by laws and not love, so it would be good if people were forced to follow anti-discriminatory laws on HIV/AIDS.

About Menen

Menen Hailu, originally from Ethiopia, is a graduate of Columbia University, with a master’s in human rights studies, concentrating on women’s rights and children’s rights. She has researched women living with HIV/AIDS and street children from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her documentary film, Young Voices New Dreams, stems from her thesis, “Human Rights of Street Children in Addis Ababa: A Gender Analysis and Perspectives of Street Children.” Hailu has taught human rights in combination with the creative arts to youth at risk, ages twelve to nineteen, in New York City at IMPACT Repertory Theatre. She is also a photographer and poet. To see the film, visit www.youngvoicesnewdreams.com.

We had the opportunity to interview author Menen Hailu, whose essay "Invisible Women" appears in All the Women in My Family Sing. This is what we learned...

What inspired you to write your essay for this anthology?

As a witness to the stories of women living with HIV/AIDS or affected by the disease in some way, I hold the responsibility to share these stories in various platforms in writing, film (Young Voices New Dreams) and photography. As stated by Nina Simone, “It is an artist’s duty to reflect the times.”

As marginalized people in society, these women had the courage to share their stories with the intention of raising awareness about their situation and as a way to incite a response to their call to action towards positive change. While witnessing these stories, I was inspired by the resilience of the women and touched by their experiences.