100 Women We Love: Class of 2011


In her early 20s, Shacazia Brown found out that her mom was HIV-positive. She created an AIDS Walk team in her memory, which grew to more than 200 walkers over the course of 14 years. Brown's hard-earned experience prompted her to form a foundation, Survivors of Mothers with AIDS (SOMWA, pronounced 'Someway') to help children cope with the loss of their mothers to AIDS. Today, SOMWA has more than 300 volunteers, provides services to 400 children and sponsors toy drives, holiday parties, Mothers' Day boat rides and other activities throughout the year. In 2010, Brown volunteered at the Kajido Children's Home in Kenya, helping 80 AIDS orphans; SOMWA is now planning to build a school there. Brown finds constant inspiration from "the children and mothers who need support from the community, and our volunteers. Giving back, without expecting anything in return, is the most rewarding part of my work." –KL