BREATHE | JOG | WALK | SHOP | DRIVE | STUDY | SLEEP | FIGHT | KNEEL
The list goes on…
It’s 2am. Another Black family has been torn apart. Another Black person must go and identify the body of someone that they love. Another Black child has tears falling uncontrollably to the ground. Another Black man sits in the corner too unnerved to move.
Twelve hours earlier. That same Black family is still whole. That same Black person is hugging on the person that they love. That same Black child was laughing and giggling. The same Black man sits in the corner too unnerved to move.
This is America. Black children are being taught to prepare for a covert war that they have no desire to wage. Black children are being taught that their schools are not as good. Black children are being taught that they must be thrice as good to have half as much. Black children are love.
My country. Black women have been overlooked. Black women have been left to pick up the pieces of fragmented families. Black women must work 19 months to be paid what the average White man makes annually. Black women are magic.
‘Tis of Thee. Black men have been beaten. Black men have been tortured. Black men must accommodate and smile in the face of the exact people who do not care if they survive. Black men must navigate constant threats to their existence since they are constantly seen as a threat. Black men are beautiful.
If you are reading this newsletter, you are directly impacted by HIV. You care deeply about doing whatever it takes to see an end to this epidemic. You came to this life’s work from a different origin, reasoning, and skill set from the person next to you. In this field, you learned that every voice is valued. You learned that all of us matter in decision-making. And you also learned that not all people and communities are equally impacted.
Black people make up nearly half of the PLHIV community. And we make up over half of the HIV-related deaths. We know that this reality did not happen by chance. It happened by design. HIV is today and has always been an opportunistic disease. It has always found a way to harm the communities with the smallest voices and the least resources.
HIV knows how to find the people who are most hungry. HIV can sniff out those who are least stably housed. HIV can track those people who barely have access to jobs and healthcare. And clearly, HIV has a predator’s eye on those people who are most abused.
People who look like, love like, and live like #GeorgeFloyd, #NinaPop, #AhmaudArbery, #BreonnaTaylor, #TonyMcDade, #SandraBland, #LaquanMcDonald, #EricGarner, #MyaHall, #LaquanMcDonald, #You, and #Me are first on HIV’s predatory list. What have we learned in the nearly 40 years of struggling against HIV? Our legacies of love will live on. Our families will fight for all that we were meant to be.
Although Black people have a paucity of access to healthcare education, healthcare services, and culturally responsive care, we must overcome the steepest hills to live long and healthy lives. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has once again raised the alarm outside of our communities to our unmet and actively precluded needs. COVID-19 in the USA is a clear case of the haves and the have nots.
Life-saving information and needed access to care came late and hardly at all to the Black community. And the spokespersons who brought those messages do not look like nor live in the communities most burdened.
At NMAC, we Lead with Race. We know first-hand what happens when entire populations are overlooked. They must advocate, organize, beg, plead, and take action to demand access to the inalienable right of life. And in far too many cases, that does not happen then they are blamed and demonized.
For the past week, many parts of America have literally burned to the ground due to the inaction of our leaders to support people most in-need. That is not acceptable. Just as we demand more from each other, we must demand more from them. There will be no justice as long as it is just us.
One day, each and every one of us who reads this will be gone. We will be the ancestors. Our question is: Will people pay homage to the work that we did to ensure that those of greatest need had all that was available to thrive? Or will we be the example of the what not to do to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice.
It’s our choice. I hope we choose life.
Director of Strategic Partnerships