“AIDS Is A Civil Rights Issue” wrapped bus to debut at LA’s MLK parade; tour during Black History Month
LOS ANGELES (January 15, 2016) — AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observed on January 18 by participating in MLK parades and hosting free HIV awareness and testing events in almost a dozen U.S. cities across the country, including Los Angeles, CA; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Baton Rouge, LA; Cleveland, OH; Biloxi, MS; Jackson, MS; Columbia, SC; Dallas, TX; and Ft. Worth, TX.
AHF will celebrate the holiday at the following events:
|Los Angeles, CA||January 18||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 10:15 a.m. at S. Western Ave & W. MLK Blvd.||Patrick Stone(619) 792 – 9866|
|Ft. Lauderdale, FL||January 18||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade and offer free HIV testing||Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Sistrunk Blvd. and Northwest Fifth Ave.||Jason King(954) 610-3064|
|Miami, FL||January 18||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade and offer free HIV testing||Parade takes place along NW 54th St., from NW 12th Ave. to NW 32nd Ave.||Jason King(954) 610-3064|
|Tampa, FL||January 18||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 12 noon at the intersection of 21st Ave. and 15th St.||Jason King(954) 610-3064|
|Atlanta, GA||January 18||AHF to participate in the Rustin-Lawrence BreakfastAHF contingent to walk in MLK Day Parade||Breakfast begins at 10 a.m. (open to public)40 Courtland Street Atlanta, GA 30303
Parade begins at 1:15 at Peachtree Street and Baker
|Tim Webb(267) 253-4213|
|Baton Rouge, LA||January 18||MLK Day collaboration with NAACP Baton Rouge Chapter||Mt. Zion Baptist Church 356 East Blvd. Baton Rouge, LA 70802||Sashika Baunchand(225) 456-6955|
|Cleveland, OH||January 18||AHF to join MLK Celebration at Mount Zion Congregational Church||Mount Zion Congregational Church 10723 Magnolia Drive Cleveland, OH 44106||Tracy Jones(216) 235-3027|
|Biloxi, MS||January 18||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 11 a.m. at MGM Park||Jessica Reinhart(201) 725-1328|
|Jackson, MS||January 16||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Downtown Jackson||Jessica Reinhart(201) 725-1328|
|Columbia, SC||January 18||AHF to participate in King Day at the Dome March & Rally sponsored by NAACP||South Carolina State House||Elizabeth McClendon(803) 622-1684|
|Dallas, TX||January 18||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Holmes St. and MLK Blvd.||Bret Camp(415) 447-0986|
|Ft. Worth, TX||January 18||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 11 a.m. at Commerce St. and 9th St.||Bret Camp(415) 447-0986|
As African American and Latino communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS in the United States, AHF advocates and its MLK parade contingents will continue to promote the message that “AIDS Is A Civil Rights Issue” and that access to care and treatment for HIV/AIDS should be a universal human right. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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.
“One of the most enduring legacies of Martin Luther King Jr. is the way he encouraged everyday citizens to take a stand in their communities for social justice and equal access to jobs, economic opportunity, housing and health care,” said Christopher Johnson, chair of the AHF Black AIDS Crisis Taskforce (ABACT). “Despite the strides we’ve made in many important socioeconomic areas, statistics show that HIV/AIDS is ravaging black and brown families from coast to coast today, especially in the Southeast where stigma and lack of access to care remain major factors to overcome. From the streets of Atlanta to the halls of Congress, we must keep pressure on our local, state and national elected leaders to direct needed funding and resources to those who are on the frontlines in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the communities of color.”
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, as well as to condoms and safer sex educational opportunities.
- 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 sexual 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.
“AIDS Is A Civil Rights Issue” wrapped bus to debut on MLK Day in Los Angeles; tour during Black History Month
Making its grand debut on MLK Day and kicking off a tour of stops at commemorative Black History Month events in California, Texas, and Georgia, AHF will also unveil its new converted open-air bus wrapped with the “AIDS Is A Civil Rights Issue” artwork featuring an archival image of Martin Luther King Jr. leading a march of sign-wielding civil rights activists during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
AHF launched its “AIDS Is A Civil Rights Issue” billboard and public awareness campaign in February 2014 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and held a year of town hall discussions in eight U.S. cities that were headlined by Rev. Al Sharpton. In August, AHF held its “Vote 2 End HIV” concert featuring Rev. Sharpton, Patti LaBelle and rapper Common at the FOX Theatre in Atlanta to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and draw attention to health disparities that continue to affect communities of color.