AFC embraces Black AIDS Institute’s We the People Plan

March 8, 2020

On this year’s National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Feb. 7, the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) released We the People — a sweeping, national, Black-led plan to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) enthusiastically endorses the Black AIDS Institute’s plan and commits to supporting BAI in implementing the plan through AFC’s statewide efforts to end new cases of HIV and connect all Illinoisans living with HIV and AIDS to care.

“Ending the HIV epidemic must start in the Black community.  We know that if we end the epidemic in the most marginalized communities, we will end the epidemic everywhere,” said Coleman Goode, AFC’s manager of community organizing and a co-chair of the Black Treatment AIDS Network’s Chicago chapter (an affiliate of BAI). “The We the People plan outlines the importance of addressing this epidemic from all sides — not just the biomedical — but this is not going to happen unless everyone is working together.”

We the People is predicated eliminating racism and anti-Blackness, and investing in, increasing access to health care for, and building capacity in Black communities. “Only if Black communities are empowered, supported and effectively resourced will it be possible to end this national epidemic,” the plan states.

Nationally as well as in Illinois and Chicago, the HIV epidemic disproportionately impacts gay and bisexual Black men and Black cis- and trans- women more than people of other races and ethnicities. Despite this difficult truth, the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America doesn’t effectively address race or recognize the need to provide enhanced support to Black communities across the U.S.

AFC commits to partnering with BTAN Chicago to bring this national plan to the state level here in Illinois. In fact, many of We the People’s priorities align with AFC’s priorities, particularly within Pillar One: Dismantle Anti-Black practices, systems and institutions:

  • AFC and its project Pride Action Tank have advanced gender-affirming laws, policies and practices in Illinois
  • AFC serves as a co-leader on the Illinois HIV Action Alliance (IHAA), a statewide coalition working to end Illinois’ HIV criminalization laws, which disproportionately impacts the Black community, and reform the racist criminal justice system overall
  • AFC is currently advocating for the Healthy Youth Act, a dramatic reform to enact comprehensive sexual health education in the state
  • AFC, in its role as a leader in the Getting to Zero Illinois initiative, is advancing accountability by creating a state and local dashboard to help all Illinoisans monitor our collective effort to end the state’s HIV epidemic by 2030

“We at AFC are emboldened by the We the People plan,” said John Peller, AFC’s president/CEO. “We will more deeply embrace the intersections of this plan and our work, and we will find new ways to incorporate the innovative and thoughtful proposals of We the People into our future endeavors.”

Next steps:

Categorized under Advocacy, Illinois and Public Statements.

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