LOS ANGELES (January 13, 2017) — AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observed on January 16th 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; San Francisco, CA; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; New Orleans, LA; Chicago, IL; Greensboro, NC; and Washington, DC.
AHF will celebrate the holiday at the following events:
|Los Angeles, CA||January 16||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 10:15 a.m. at S. Western Ave & W. MLK Blvd.||Jacquie Burbank
|Washington, DC||January 16||AHF Speak Out advocates to participate in 11th annual MLK Peace Walk & Parade under the headline “AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue”||At 11 a.m. Anacostia Park near Good Hope Rd SE and Anacostia Dr. SE
|Ft. Lauderdale, FL||January 16||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.||Jeff Owens
|St. Petersburg, FL||January 16||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 11 a.m.||Pierre Guttenberg
|Atlanta, GA||January 16||AHF to participate in the Rustin-Lawrence Breakfast
AHF contingent to walk in MLK Day Parade
AHF to sponsor “Beloved Community Talk” at The King Center
|Breakfast begins at 9:30 a.m. (open to public)
40 Courtland Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
Parade begins at 1:15 at Peachtree Street and Baker
The Beloved Community Talk begins at 5 p.m. at The King Center
|Chicago, IL||January 16||AHF to join MLK Celebration at Northeastern Illinois University||Northeastern Illinois University Black Student Union
5500 S. St. Louis Ave. Chicago, IL
|New Orleans, LA||January 16||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 10 a.m. at City Hall and ends at MLK Monument on MLK Blvd. & S. Claiborne Ave.||Sashika Baunchand
|Greensboro, NC||January 16||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 11 a.m.
100 MLK Drive
|Columbia, SC||January 16||AHF to participate in King Day at the Dome March & Rally sponsored by NAACP||Statewide MLK Prayer Services, 8:30 a.m., Zion Baptist Church, 801 Washington St., Columbia, SC 29201 (March starts at Zion, 9:30 am)
King Day at the Dome Rally begins at 10:00 a.m.,
SC State House, North Steps, 1100 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC (Intersection of Gervais and Main Streets.)
|Ft. Worth, TX||January 16||AHF contingent to walk in MLK Parade||Parade begins at 11 a.m. at Ninth and Commerce streets and ends at Sundance Square Plaza.
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 Imara Canady, chair of AHF’s Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC). “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.