Black AIDS Institute Names New President & Chief Executive Officer

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Longtime staffer selected from among 20 candidates after national 10 month search

LOS ANGELES—The Black AIDS Institute (BAI) has named Raniyah Copeland as its next President and Chief Executive Officer.  Copeland will assume the role on January 1.  Copeland began working at BAI in April of 2008 as the Training and Capacity Building Coordinator and currently serves as the Director of Programs.  The announcement was made during the organization’s star studded Heroes In The Struggle gala at the California African American Museum (CAAM) this past Saturday.

Copeland, says, “We are bringing a collective of the nation’s brightest leaders who are modeling the way to end HIV in Black America through the provision of outstanding, Black-centric clinical care, and best practices shared across the country.”

As she reflects on more than 10 years with the organization she says, “I have grown from planning the details of one of our largest programs to leading the strategic direction of all of BAI’s programming, including our newest entry into providing HIV direct services.” She added, “In my tenure with the Institute I have had the pleasure of developing seasoned and meaningful relationships with significant individuals and institutions from federal leaders, to community organizers, and key funders. I have led our growth to currently having the largest staffed and skilled programs team we have had in 10 years.”

Copeland, who is 34, succeeds Phill Wilson who is not only the current President and Chief Executive Officer, but the organization’s founder.  He announced his decision to retire at the end of this year to the Board of Directors in 2015.  The Board has been intentional about the search process and strategic planning.  They conducted a 10-month national search and Copeland was selected from more than 20 candidates.

BAI Board Chair, Grazell Howard, J.D., says, “Strategic actions have been taken while ‘preparing for the next generation of the HIV fight. Phill Wilson’s aspiration demonstrates to the world that the Black AIDS Institute is and will always be innovative, first, and best-in-class as an organization devoted to eradicating HIV in our communities.” She added, “Raniyah Copeland’s selection as the new President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute illustrates the ‘woke’ meter of the BAI Board of Directors. Raniyah bring a triple threat to HIV: subject matte expertise and passion bundled with commitment.”

Phill Wilson says, “I can’t imagine a better choice to lead the institute into the future. Raniyah is bold, brave, and brilliant.” He added, “She brings a vigor and vision to the AIDS movement that, given the current political environment, is desperately needed.”

Prior to joining the staff of BAI, Copeland worked as a Crisis Case Manager at Beyond Shelter, a Reproductive Health Assistant for Planned Parenthood Pasadena, and the Executive Director of the Black Recruitment and Retention Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Public Health from Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Copeland is married to Bryce Copeland, a business manager for Sony Pictures Entertainment.  They are the parents of Ahmad, 4, and Aydin, 1.  They reside in the Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles.

She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an AmeriCorp Alumni, and a Co-Founder of the African Black Coalition.  “As a Black cis-woman and mother, my intersectionality informs how I center people living with HIV, queer people, Black trans women, and folks in the Black communities who are marginalized because of who they are,” says Copeland.

Founded in 1999, as the only national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on Black communities, the Black AIDS Institute’s mission is to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing traditional Black Leaders, Institutions, and individuals in efforts to confront HIV/AIDS.  BAI disseminates information, conducts trainings, offers technical and capacity building assistance, advocates for sound, inclusive, culturally responsive public and private sector health policies, delivers high quality comprehensive local primary care and treatment in Los Angeles, and provides advocacy and mobilization from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view. The motto is “Our People, Our Problem, Our Solution!”