The Black AIDS Institute Kicks Off “We The People” Weekend On February 7 For National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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We the People: A Black Plan to End HIV in America aims to set the precedence for anti-racist/sexist HIV mobilization in the country

The Black AIDS Institute (BAI) is launching its groundbreaking and comprehensive campaign and report entitled We the People: A Black Plan to End HIV in America on Friday February 7, 2020 during National Black HIV Awareness Day. While the phrase We the People continues to inspire efforts to form a more perfect union, the gap between the vision of people-empowered government and the reality of life in the United States was gaping from the country’s very beginning, and it persists today. In FY 2020, the Trump Administration has allocated an additional $250 million to end the HIV epidemic within the U.S. in ten years. This initiative is supposed to provide the “hardest hit communities” with tools, technology, and resources to combat HIV. However, a plan to end the HIV epidemic without specific attention paid to structural oppression that marginalizes at risk communities will always fail. BAI has developed and is executing a plan that centers the most marginalized, because it is through developing comprehensive plans that address the nuanced needs of Black people most impacted by the epidemic that we will develop full solutions to ending the HIV epidemic for all people.

“Black communities have been disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic since the start due in part to the lack of engagement and transparency with Black communities around health policy, funding, and long-range planning to address barriers to healthcare. The communities most impacted by HIV must take the lead in articulating their needs and priorities in order for health and social services to be effective” says Raniyah Copeland, BAI President and CEO

BAI will unveil its plan that will outline four major recommendations to effectively center the most marginalized communities and end the HIV epidemic:

  1. Dismantle anti-Black practices, systems, and institutions that endanger the health and well-being of Black people and undermine an effective, equitable response to HIV in Black America.
  2. Invest in Black communities through resources and services that address the fullness, richness, potential, and expertise of Black people and mitigate social and structural factors that worsen health outcomes in Black communities.
  3. Ensure universal access to and robust utilization of high-quality, comprehensive, affordable and culturally- and gender-affirming healthcare to enable Black people to live healthy lives in our full dignity.
  4. Build the capacity and motivation of Black communities to be the change agents for ending HIV.

In what BAI has coined We the People weekend, BAI will also be hosting its annual Heroes in the Struggle Dinner Presented by Gilead Sciences on Saturday February 8, 2020. HITS is BAI’s flagship fundraising effort, generating crucial support for BAI’s lifesaving work for 20 years. It is one of the largest HIV/AIDS events of its kind in the country, this year’s Gala will commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness week. BAI is honoring an illustrious group of 2020 changemakers including Dr. Eugene McCray, Laith Ashley De La Cruz, Karamo, Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Dr. Keith Green. Previous Heroes include Hill Harper, Jurnee Smollett, Laverne Cox, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Billy Porter, Taraji P. Henson, Patti LaBelle, Jennifer Lewis, and others. Ticketing information can be found at hits.eventbrite.com. Every dollar raised from ticket sales and individual donations goes directly to BAI programs—which range from raising HIV/AIDS awareness; training communities in the science and treatment of HIV; increasing HIV testing; helping to link and retain people living with HIV/AIDS or at risk for HIV acquisition into care and treatment; and mobilizing leaders, institutions and individuals in efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. At the HIITS gala, BAI will unveil its aggressive new branding, a new look in their continued fight to remove systemic health barriers for Black people.

BAI hopes that the We the People weekend inspires us all to prioritize HIV/AIDS in our community and hold our systems accountable for efforts that disregard Black lives and livelihoods.

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