Over the last few days, I have had the fortunate privilege of participating in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2015 Annual Meeting to share an update on the joint Commitment to Action between the NAACP and Gilead Sciences, which promises to scale The Black Church & HIV initiative through 2018. As an ambassador to the initiative, and someone who is passionate about reversing the course of HIV among Black Americans, I am proud to report that to date, this program has reached more than 500 faith leaders across the country with messages about integrating HIV as a social justice issue into church activities.
The Black Church & HIV initiative is on track to complete 25 percent of the faith leader trainings that are so critical in reaching other faith leaders. The initiative also has prompted the ratification of formal resolutions from two of the nine mainline denominations, and is working with several predominantly Black seminaries to train future faith leaders on HIV prevention.
If these milestones are any indication of what we can do to create a movement of change, imagine what we can do over the next three years. As faith leaders, we have a responsibility to take charge and be the change that we want to see in our communities. By educating our congregations with messages about HIV, we can help remove the stigma and stop social injustices that have led to the unequal impact of HIV on African Americans.
These key milestones inspire me, and I hope inspires others to join the fight against HIV. We have an opportunity to stop the spread of HIV among our brothers and sisters, but only if we commit to act. I urge you to make a commitment to The Black Church & HIV initiative today.
Pastor John R. Faison, Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn. He is a member of The Black Church & HIV: The Social Justice Imperative’s Advisory Committee, and an active ambassador for the initiative.
Visit our blog to read about the work The Black Church & HIV initiative is doing across the U.S. to fight the HIV epidemic’s disparate impact on Black America.view more ›