2,500 Attend “AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue” Evening of Action with Rev. Al Sharpton

In News by AHF

‘Evening of Action’ and town hall panel discussion at New Mount Olive Baptist Church is a part of AHF’s national ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ campaign – Discussion explored the fact that African Americans & Latinos continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

As part of its national “AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue” advocacy and awareness campaign, which was developed in response to the fact that African American and Latino communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) teamed locally in South Florida for an ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue Evening of Action’ on Wednesday, April 23rd with local partners including Ft. Lauderdale’s New Mount Olive Baptist Church, the Mount Olive Development Corporation (MODCO) as well as other religious, civic and community groups.

The ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue Evening of Action’ took place Wednesday, April 23rd from 6:30pm until 9:00pm, and was attended by more than 2,500 people. The campaign and event takes place during the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and featured a keynote address by Reverend Al Sharpton followed by a town hall panel discussion with panelists including Hydeia Broadbent, an HIV/AIDS activist & humanitarian HIV-positive since birth, as well as several respected local community, political, heath, religious and HIV/AIDS leaders, who explored the issues around HIV/AIDS and the African American community during the town hall.

Currently African Americans account for 44% of all people with HIV/AIDS in the United States, yet only account for 12% of the population. Latinos account for 21% of all new HIV infections nationwide, yet only represent 16% of the U.S. population.

Disproportionately high numbers of HIV/AIDS cases among communities of color may be caused by several factors, including:

  • Lack of access to clinics for care and HIV testing.
  • High levels of stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in these communities prevent people from learning their HIV status, or from seeking care and speaking honestly with their partners if they know they are positive.
  • Both society and the healthcare industry have marginalized members of these communities both on account of sexual orientation and race, blocking essential treatment, care, and education for those who need it.

“Through our ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ campaign and this Evening of Action in Fort Lauderdale, we hope to open a dialogue with stakeholders in the community, the public health arena, and faith-based groups as well as public officials about health disparities and the importance of universal access to HIV prevention and care and treatment,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation in a statement. “We are honored to have Reverend Sharpton and our esteemed partners lend their voices to this important cause and discussion.”

“African Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. As we pray for the eradication of this pandemic, the Black Church must continue to lead the work to ensure that access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment for HIV/AIDS is universal,” said, Dr. Marcus Davidson, Senior Pastor of the New Mount Olive Baptist Church.

“If we continue to be silent about HIV and AIDS, it will continue to kill the people that we love,” said Rosalind Osgood, MPA, M. Div. DPA, President/CEO Mount Olive Development Corporation. “I am committed to being the voice for those that are infected or affected by this horrible pandemic. We must ensure that access to health care and housing is afforded to all African Americans and Latinos who are positive.”

AHF’s ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ Billboard Campaign Running Now in Atlanta, Washington, DC; Columbus, OH; Baton Rouge, LA; Jackson, MS; South Florida and Los Angeles

Over the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend in January, AHF launched its innovative national ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ billboard campaign. AHF’s billboards are intended to serve as a reminder of the fact that African American and Latino communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS compared with their respective percentages of the overall population. The campaign also hopes to send the message that access to HIV prevention and care and treatment for HIV/AIDS should be a universal human right. The billboard campaign is running now in Atlanta, Washington, DC; Columbus, Ohio; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi South Florida and in Los Angeles. In most of the cities, the campaign will also be posted as transit shelter ads.


AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue!

Please join us and a multitude of faith-based communities in illuminating and fighting the persisting bias against communities of color as we collectively strive to lower the incidence of HIV/AIDS, and together we can ensure all communities have equal access to the tools we need in this fight.

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