Making Change Real

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changeThe 2009 edition of the Black AIDS Institute’s annual State of AIDS in Black America report lays out both the promise and the peril of the unique moment at which we’ve arrived in this epidemic.

On one hand, the historic election of Barack Obama and a congressional majority that has been more supportive of the AIDS fight offers great opportunity. Similarly, Black America is engaged in the struggle to end AIDS like never before. Together, these two realities could create real, lasting change in the course of this epidemic.

At the same time, 2008 witnessed great setbacks, particularly in the effort to prevent the virus’ spread. We are seeing the outcome of too many years of neglect, at both the governmental and community level. But while the challenges are great, Black America is perhaps better poised to meet them today than ever before.

In January 2009, the CDC chose 14 mainstream Black organizations to receive funding through its ACT Against AIDS Leadership Initiative: 100 Black Men of America, American Urban Radio Networks, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, National Action Network, NAACP, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Council of Negro Women, National Medical Association, National Newspaper Publishers Association, National Organization of Black County Officials, National Urban League, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation.

In 2006, 16 traditional Black institutions launched the National Black AIDS Mobilization by signing on to the National Call to Action and Declaration of Commitment to End the AIDS Epidemic in Black America. In 2008, two crucial groups joined the list of those that have completed strategic plans detailing how they will address HIV/AIDS: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Urban League. And 10 of the groups receiving CDC leadership grants are partners in the National Black AIDS Mobilization.

This report offers an update on the progress each group has made in fulfilling its pledge to act. Many of them have made great strides; others are just beginning their work. In all cases, far more resources and support are required from both public and private funders who seek to impact the AIDS epidemic.

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