Initiative Aims to Connect Communities of Color to Health Care, Features Community Ambassadors and Celebrity Supporters, including Sheryl Lee Ralph, Sherri Shepherd and Rhymefest
CHICAGO – On the eve of the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) unveiled a community‐level educational campaign designed to inspire African Americans to live life to the fullest by connecting to life‐extending preventative health care services.
Change My Story includes bus shelter ads in the Bronzeville, Hyde Park, South Shore, Chatham, Beverly, Morgan Park, Auburn Gresham and Englewood communities, public service announcements, and the ChangeMyStory.org health promotion portal. Future phases of the campaign will engage residents in other areas hard‐hit by HIV/AIDS.
“Change My Story is about inspiring and empowering people to take control of their life and health, with respect to HIV/AIDS and all life‐changing illnesses,” said David Ernesto Munar, AFC President and CEO. “No one is helpless to HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions: you can literally change your story for the better with proactive steps. Thanks to medical advances, dramatic improvements in health are within greater reach than ever.”
AFC will launch the campaign at the Bud Billiken Parade, the nation’s largest and oldest African‐ American parade, on Saturday, August 13. Parade watchers and the general public can also text “MYSTORY” to 30364 to win exclusive access to a post‐parade VIP event featuring actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, BET’s “Sunday Best” winner Y’Anna Crawley and gospel duo Dawkins & Dawkins.
As a community‐level social marketing campaign, Change My Story features real people who provide real talk about serious health issues. Current and former residents of several South Side neighborhoods, including celebrities, such as television personality/comedian Sherri Shepherd, renowned producer and musician Frankie Knuckles, and hip‐hop star and community advocate Rhymefest, will lend their voices to the campaign through PSAs, bus shelter ads, blogs and social media.
Residents will likely recognize popular community figures in various campaign collaterals from compelling videos on ChangeMyStory.org to posters to six different bus shelter ads, depicting the ordinary events that make life special and worthy of health promotion routines.
“It’s your friends, your family, your hairdresser, your local pastor – people you see every day in the community – sharing what they are doing to change their stories and what you can do to change yours,” said Johnathon Briggs, AFC Vice President of Communications who, with AFC Director of Care and Quality Improvement Alicia Bunton, spearheaded development of the campaign in partnership with Ventures Unlimited, a marketing communications firm.
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Local businesses, including Gallery Guichard in Bronzeville, will be involved and plans are under way for a speaker series, concert and other community and celebrity events to help drive health screenings and increase access to care.
By combating the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and connecting people to vital care services, Change My Story aims to drastically improve the health and lifestyle of the African‐American community and other at‐risk populations.
While Change My Story aims to serve as an overall health initiative, addressing the important issues surrounding various diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol, hepatitis, diabetes, and cancer, the first phase of the campaign will focus exclusively on HIV/AIDS.
For more information on Change My Story and how you can join the movement, visit www.ChangeMyStory.org.
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