By Phill Wilson
In an Associated Press report published March 5, NAACP Executive Director Bruce S. Gordon announced he has resigned his post as the organization’s chief manager. The Black AIDS Institute’s Executive Director Phill Wilson, who has worked closely with the NAACP during Gordon’s tenure, made the following statement concerning the organization’s leadership on addressing the AIDS epidemic:
“At a time when half of all new HIV infections are among African Americans, the Black community desperately needs the sort of bold vision that the NAACP has demonstrated under the leadership of Bruce Gordon and Chairman Julian Bond. Time and again, the organization has stepped up to push Black America forward in its high-stakes fight against this disease.
“In August 2006, the NAACP was among a group of Black institutions that convened at the global AIDS conference in Toronto, Canada, to hammer out a ‘Marshal Plan’ to end AIDS in our community. Like the others present, the NAACP pledged to encourage HIV testing, hold policymakers accountable for treatment access in Black communities, and attack stigma surrounding the virus, among other commitments. It was an historic meeting in which the NAACP played a crucial role.
“And the organization has put action behind its words. At its annual convention, it offered onsite HIV testing and hosted several educational and cultural events raising awareness about the epidemic. Both Bruce Gordon and Chairman Bond took public HIV tests themselves. It further organized a national petition to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act and launched both a national HIV-testing campaign and its ‘NAACP CARES’ campaign to eradicate AIDS across the African Diaspora, including among African Americans.
“All of this unflinching leadership is just the sort the Black community has too long lacked on HIV/ AIDS.
“Gordon articulated in his convention address an organizational perspective that all of Black America must come to embrace surrounding HIV: ‘We’re going to reverse the trend of the spread of HIV/AIDS in our community,’ he said. ‘We’re accountable for it.’
“The Black AIDS Institute thanks Gordon, Chairman Bond and the NAACP for that accountability. And as the NAACP moves into its next exciting era, we are confident the organization will maintain the bold and crucial leadership post it has taken up in the fight against AIDS in Black America.”