I arrived at Encore Liquid Lounge for my very first RLTEvent at 2:30, but I still found myself running a tad late. Some volunteers showed up two hours late and set up took longer than expected. Still, at 5:30, we were trying to get the 350 swag bags stacked against the wall in the small lobby between the elevator of Hotel Allegro and the entrance to Encore. But from the outside looking in, things were running smoothly.
Encore Liquid Lounge, close to 6:30 p.m., I couldn't believe my eyes.
enBeadia, a bead shop, both sponsors of RLTEvent. As I made my way, I saw old friends, Twitter followers and Facebook friends. The tables were adorned with Hot Tamales candy that my girlfriend Cathleen donated, one of my my favorites, conversation cards with HIV/AIDS statistics ready to be Facebooked and Tweeted, and condoms to be picked up.
Creative Cakes by KeeKee, the homemade cakes, the big carrot cake with RLT Event on it donated by my girlfriend Audrey, the raffle table with over 80 prizes, the Encore staff wearing bright red and the crowded room that at one point became so tight you could barely move. It was all so overwhelming.
The fact that I was actually hosting an event at a bar/restaurant was pretty amazing in itself; I don’t even go to bars. I don’t even drink, never have. All this new territory, social media and social media events to challenge stigma and shame, to educate about HIV/AIDS is pretty amazing. For Real! I’m a speaker and for the most part, that’s the area to which I had relegated my HIV work. Speaking has been my life and work. Honestly, I went to social media kicking and screaming one at a time: My Space, Facebook, Twitter, and my best friend Luke doing the dragging. But now I am there and growing by leaps and bounds. I’m here, and by golly, it is clearly what I am suppose to be doing.
Social Media is the craze and I have it by the tail and I will not let go. I’m meeting people where they are at, educating around HIV/AIDS in ways people can understand. My Tweet-up/Meet up was the next step. And so many came out to help me make history. THANK YOU!!!! The first ever HIV/AIDS Tweet up and my very first event was quite a success. Together we did it! Participants, sponsors and volunteers! Yes, we had a packed house but we also packed Twitter and Facebook with HIV/AIDS education.
Post Script: Yes, there were a few kinks, but don’t give up on me... #IcannotdoitAlone. Y’all know that I am an overachiever so I will be looking to make the next one even better. RLTEvent2 will be a World AIDS Day Event! I’m working on the date for the first week of December, I will let you know as soon as I do... Want to join #teamRae? E-mail my executive assistant Latoya at firstname.lastname@example.org. The photos were taken by Errol Dunlap Photography. To view the full album click here. More will be posted on my Facebook page from Jason E. Jones Photography soon.
The video is coming soon.....