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Thursday, September 18, 2014

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AIDS activist to highlight anti-bullying efforts in Westport Library talk

Published 5:58 am, Thursday, August 28, 2014
  • Paige Rawl will discuss her memoir, "Positive," on Sept. 8 at the Westport Library. It recounts the bullying that Rawl, born HIV positive, suffered after fellow middle school learned of her condition. Photo: Contributed Photo / Westport News
    Paige Rawl will discuss her memoir, "Positive," on Sept. 8 at the Westport Library. It recounts the bullying that Rawl, born HIV positive, suffered after fellow middle school learned of her condition. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Paige Rawl, born HIV positive and bullied in school after telling a friend about her condition, will discuss her experiences as recounted in her memoir, "Positive," in a Sept. 8 appearance at the Westport Library.

The free program will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the library's McManus Room.

Rawl's middle school classmates called her nicknames, such as PAIDS, and her soccer coach joked that her HIV status could help the team since opposing teams would not want to get near her, according to a library release on the program.

When the bullying became unbearable, Rawl left her middle school and decided to speak publicly about her story. At age 14, Rawl became the youngest person to be certified through the American Red Cross as an HIV/AIDS educator, the release states, and lobbied legislators in her home state of Indiana to help pass Anti-Bullying Bill No. 1423, which took effect July 1, 2013.

She is currently a student at Ball State University, where she plans to study molecular biology.

In the memoir, "Positive," Rawl discusses the power she discovered by choosing action over complacency, compassion over cruelty and, above all, remaining positive, according to the release. Books will be available for signing and purchase at the program.

In addition to motivational speaking, Rawl has been profiled in national media outlets, including USA Today, People magazine, Seventeen magazine, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, the Huffington Post and Poz magazine, she is a national youth advocate, anti-bullying crusader and powerful HIV/AIDS educator.

For information, call 203-291-4800 or visit www.westportlibrary.org.