Ledisi, is a R&B and jazz recording artist, songwriter and actress. A twelve-time Grammy Award nominee, Ledisi has released eight studio albums between 2000 and 2017. In 2000, Ledisi released her first album, titled Soulsinger: The Revival. In 2002, Ledisi released her second album, Feeling Orange but Sometimes Blue. The album won an award for “Outstanding Jazz Album” at the California Music Awards. In 2007, Ledisi signed a record deal with Verve Forecast and released her third album, titled Lost & Found, which sold almost 217,000 copies and earned her two Grammy nominations, including one for Best New Artist.

 

 

 

 

Gabriel Maldonado, MBA is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TruEvolution serving the LGBTQ community in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Originally from Compton, California, he has been a community organizer for nearly fifteen years having first began working in the field as a community organizer with the Los Angeles Police Departments Teen Community Police Advisory Board addressing the gang violence resulting from racial tensions, poverty, and police distrust in the community.

 

 

 

 

Dr. David J. Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H. is is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician with experience in men’s health, student health, racial inequities in medicine, LGBT health, and the prevention and treatment of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). He is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine and the Medical Director of Student & Employee Health at Morehouse School of Medicine.

 

 

 

 

Billy Porter is a stage performer, pop singer, film and television actor and vocal coach. Porter won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots at the 67th Tony Awards. For the role, Porter also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Outer Critics CircleAward for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.

 

 

 

 

 

Gabourey Sidibe is an actress who made her acting debut in the 2009 film Precious, a role that earned her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead in addition to nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other film roles include Tower Heist (2011), White Bird in a Blizzard (2014), and Grimsby (2016). Since 2015, she stars in the Fox musical drama series Empire as Becky Williams.

 

 

 

Corporate hero

Essence is a monthly magazine for African-American women between the ages of 18 and 49. First published in 1970, it is the only magazine that focuses on reaching an audience of black women, revolves around the black woman experience, and has remained for a long period of time.

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL TRIBUTES TO…

Phill Wilson is retiring at the end of December as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Black AIDS Institute, the only national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on Black people. Since its founding in 1999, the Institute’s mission has been to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV. The Institute interprets public and private sector HIV policies, conducts trainings, offers technical assistance, disseminates information and provides ad­vocacy from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view.

 

 

The late Kenneth Reynolds longtime publicist collaborated with a who’s who in music, including Whitney Houston, Labelle, Gladys Knight, Herbie Hancock, The Jacksons, Taj Mahal and Kool & the Gang. Reynolds, a native of Chicago, began working in the entertainment industry in his late teens as a page for the Merv Griffin Show in New York City. A later stint as global road manager for female trio Labelle (Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx) opened the door to publicity and marketing posts with the Arista, PolyGram and CBS labels. After relocating to Los Angeles, he launched his own PR/marketing firm.

 

 

Bill T. Jones

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Bill T. Jones Bill T. Jones has never created a single work about AIDS. He will tell you that firmly, perhaps forcefully. But the facts that he is HIV positive and that he lost his partner in love and work to AIDS, infuse his choreography, making several of his breathtaking works metaphors for the …

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Juanita Millender-McDonald

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Juanita Millender-McDonald A Glamour magazine survey called her “one of eleven women who will change the world.” Bold initiatives have become her trademark. And not only is she a champion of her people, she’s also a fierce soldier in the battle against AIDS. Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald may represent the citizens of California’s 37th congressional …

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Carl Bean

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Carl Bean Archbishop Rev. Carl Bean doesn’t mince his words, and about the following point, he is absolutely clear. “Love,” he explains, “saved my life.” Growing up in 1950s Baltimore, Maryland, Rev. Bean saw no reason to conceal the fact that he was gay. That decision sent him down a tough road, and at …

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Charles E. Blake

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Charles E. Blake Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. is a man of character, integrity and wisdom. And determination. Given his commitment to the struggle, it’s easy to image him as Charles Atlas, trying to lift up Africa on his shoulders. Blake is senior pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in …

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Sandra Evers-Manly

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My Image

{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Sandra Evers-Manly “I came from the Civil Rights Evers family in Mississippi. We were raised by the letter L. Love. Lift. Lead. Learn. Laugh. Listen with your heart,” says Sandra Evers-Manly. Loss is another word familiar to her. She’s a cousin of slain Civil Rights activist Medgar Evans and has had to say goodbye …

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Danny Glover

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Danny Glover What does the pastor of the oldest Black congregation in Los Angeles have to say to those African-Americans who still don’t believe that AIDS is a major threat to the community? “Denial is a river in Egypt. It could happen to any of us.” Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Cecil L. …

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Sheryl Lee Ralph

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Sheryl Lee Ralph It seems fitting, somehow, that Sheryl Lee Ralph’s vision for joining the fight against HIV/AIDS came to her in a dream. Her hit musical Dreamgirls opened in 1981, the same year that doctors identified the first cases of disease. And it was during her run as a “dreamgirl” when one of …

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Debra Fraser-Howze

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Debra Fraser-Howze In the mid-1980s, then-U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop warned the country, and Black leaders in particular, about the alarmingly high rates of HIV infections among African Americans. At the time, HIV/AIDS was thought to be a malady that only afflicted gay white men. As Black leaders across the country attempted …

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Patricia Broadbent

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Patricia Broadbent “Don’t look at what you can die from. Look at how you can live.” Patricia Broadbent has spent a lifetime instilling this kind of positive attitude in herself and her family. Good thing. She’s living with cancer and three of her children are living with AIDS. She’s experienced a teacher spraying her …

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Hydeia Broadbent

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Hydeia Broadbent Hydeia Broadbent, as tiny as a finger snap, could barely see over the podium. But the little girl had a big message. “How many of you know someone with AIDS?” she asked the audience at one of her early speeches.  “Guess what, you do know someone with AIDS. And you can be …

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David Satcher

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} David Satcher Anybody else would have headed for the door. The most contentious presidential election in modern times had just turned the White House over to a new group of social conservatives, and the Surgeon General’s position has always been a hotspot in America’s culture wars. For Dr. David Satcher, who had been appointed …

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Wilbert C. Jordan

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Wilbert C. Jordon Leaving his office one evening, Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan was approached by a drug user who needed money. A conversation that began about a quarter evolved into a discussion about HIV and AIDS. Across the street was a mobile health unit. The addict told Dr. Jordan that the health unit’s workers …

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Eric Goosby

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Eric Goosby In 1981, as an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Eric Goosby watched with alarm as the AIDS epidemic was born. Two years later, while working as Medical Director at the Southeast Health Center at San Francisco General Hospital, he began his …

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Essence

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Essence Essence, the preeminent magazine for African American women, has made a strong commitment to dealing with HIV/AIDS, a disease disproportionately affecting its very reader-base. AIDS is the #1 killer of Black women in the United States, aged 24-45. Among females, 72% of all new HIV cases are Black women. In response to the pandemic, …

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Jesse L. Jackson

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Jesse L. Jackson As founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. developed the PUSH for Life HIV/AIDS program in March of 2000. The purpose of the program is to develop a political platform to assist the HIV/AIDS community in its efforts to garner broader support both nationally and …

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Diane Watson

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Diane Watson “Let us shift our priorities. Let us train an army of doctors to fight the global HIV/AIDS crisis. Let us declare war on this dreaded disease.” Think of Diane Watson as a one-woman army, fighting valiantly against the epidemic on the political front, first in California State Senate and now in the …

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Willie Brown

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My Image

{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Willie Brown The world was just two years into the mysterious new disease still thought of as a “gay plague” when Willie Brown got an urgent request for help from a San Francisco activist. If doctors were going to find out what was causing this deadly illness, the activist pleaded, they needed money, real …

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Fredette West

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Fredette West Watching the news and reading the papers, you’d get the impression that members of Congress are lone actors, toiling away on their own, with an expert grasp on every public policy issue that comes before them. And, to be sure, they’re a hard working and well-informed bunch. But anybody who’s spent time …

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Vincent Hughes

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Vincent Hughes State Senator Vincent Hughes represents a Philadelphia rarely seen in Hollywood, a Philadelphia ravaged by the realities of HIV and AIDS. The youth of the city of brotherly love are especially affected, but their voice to the rest of the world has a message of hope: “We can have victory over this …

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Magic Johnson

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Magic Johnson There have been many great athletes in this century. But only one has a smile as famous as the Mona Lisa. It’s a big, wide smile that we can’t ever imagine being false.  It transmits his warmth. It enables us to see into his heart. But on November 7, 1991, that smile …

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Jacquie Stephens

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Jacquie Stephens “Let us shift our priorities. Let us train an army of doctors to fight the global HIV/AIDS crisis. Let us declare war on this dreaded disease.” Think of Diane Watson as a one-woman army, fighting valiantly against the epidemic on the political front, first in California State Senate and now in the …

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George Bellinger

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} George Bellinger The year was 1982 and, like most other Black gay men in Washington, D.C., George Bellinger, Jr. wasn’t too worried about the mysterious cases of “gay cancer” popping up in New York City and California. It was in the white gay community, not his own , so why worry? “I fell into …

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Mo’Nique

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Mo’Nique In 1985, she was sitting in a college classroom with her best girlfriend when the professor announced that there was this new disease, one you can only get by coming in contact with a gay man or IV drug users. In 2002, she saw that same best girlfriend die of AIDS. Mo’Nique knows …

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Paris Barclay

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Paris Barclay A film, television, and Broadway director who boasts two Emmys (and four more nominations) atop his lengthy list of industry awards has a lot of accomplishments. But Paris Barclay, whose latest work is with the team that brings us the acclaimed NBC drama series The West Wing, says his greatest achievement has …

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Jewel Thaïs-Williams

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Jewel Thaïs-Williams In a city notorious for its fickle tastes, where many are looking for “the next big thing,” one Los Angeles nightclub has been a steady force to be reckoned with for 30 long years. Jewel’s Catch One, owned by Jewel Thaïs-Williams, is a landmark establishment for people “in the life,” a club …

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Helene Gayle

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Helene Gayle Dr. Helene Gayle has seen it all. From the Reagan/Bush era of the 1980s, through the Clinton administration, and on to another Bush presidency, Gayle has plugged away at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 1995 to 2001, she directed the agency’s National Center for HIV, STD and …

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Dr. Gail Elizabeth Wyatt

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Dr. Gail Elizabeth Wyatt Mention the phrases “Black woman” and “a lucrative career involving sex and sexuality” and one might be tempted to think of actresses and entertainers. Try Ph.D., wife of 40 years, mother of three, author of several books, and blazing pioneer in the AIDS pandemic. “I’ve been a sex researcher at …

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Pernessa Seele

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Pernessa Seele Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician here? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? —Jeremiah 8:22 This is the Bible verse upon which Pernessa Seele founded her organization 12 years ago. While working in Harlem Hospital during the 1980s, Seele was shocked …

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Maxine Waters

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Maxine Waters “This is a national crisis. Our community can wait no longer.” These were the dramatic words voiced by California Congresswoman Maxine Waters in 1998, as she sounded the AIDS alarm. As chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, the fiery Democrat and her colleagues joined with other community leaders and took the dramatic …

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The Bakewells

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} The Bakewells Like father like son. And his son. And his son. And their sons and daughters, and their children, and their children and so on and so forth. Life grows with the seeds we plant. How the seeds grow and flourish depends greatly on how we nurture and cultivate them. Call the Bakewell …

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Andrea Williams

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Andrea Williams “Very few movies have been made about living with it.”Nelson George Imagine a Hollywood pitch meeting where busy studio executives hear the following pitch for a prospective film: The true-life story of a Black mother who overcomes her addiction to crack and becomes a positive HIV-positive role model and AIDS activist in …

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Stuart Burden

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Stuart Burden People can come up with invaluable ways to help the underserved, but if they can’t find the funding, nothing happens. Still others can possess invaluable financial resources to help those in need, but if they can’t find the proper avenues, nothing happens. Think of Stuart Burden as a matchmaker. For years, he’s …

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Ronald Johnson

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Ronald Johnson The year was 1984 and like many gay men in New York City, Ronald Johnson was scared. Droves of homosexual men were disappearing rapidly, often going from being robust and healthy to becoming sick and dying within a matter of months. Rock Hudson was still in the closet as a man living …

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Donna M. Christensen

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Congresswoman Donna M. ChristensenThe Policy Maker Congresswoman Christensen’s commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic in communities of color began during her 29 years of service as a family physician and health administrator in the Virgin Islands. In that time, she treated many patients at the beginning of the deadly epidemic and worked with their …

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Julian Bond

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Julian Bond His name is Bond. Julian Bond. His mission: changing the course of history. The beneficiaries of his larger-than-life efforts: African Americans and history itself. From his student days to his current Chairmanship of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Bond is a longtime participant in the movements for civil …

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Barbara Lee

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Barbara Lee “AIDS in Black America needs to be seen as a global problem. The media needs to focus on the domestic crisis in America as part of the overall global crisis,” says Congresswoman Barbara Lee. The Congresswoman is on a mission to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in her own backyard as well …

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Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders Many might be tempted to remember her for a few words uttered in 1994, when, as the nation’s first black Surgeon General, she dared acknowledge the existence of masturbation and said that “perhaps” it should be taught as a way to prevent AIDS. Her remark set off a firestorm that …

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Russell Simmons

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Russell Simmons In the late 1970s, Russell Simmons was studying sociology inside the classrooms of the Harlem branch of City College of New York. Outside on streets, rap music was exploding onto the cultural scene. What some saw as a passing musical fad, Simmons recognized as a genuine form of expression from the inner …

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Robert Scott

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Dr. Robert ScottThe Policy Maker “I am committed to the practice of medicine in the Bay Area and my greatest challenge is to recruit others who share that same enthusiasm and commitment.” Humbly but adamantly stated, Dr. Robert Scott is serious about helping to heal the men, women and children of the San Francisco …

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Yvonne B. Burke

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Yvonne B. Burke How do you sum up the contributions of a woman who has more than 30 years experience in public service and has been named one of “America’s 200 Future Leaders” by Time and “Woman of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times? Simply put, heroic. Or you could just utter the …

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MAC AIDS

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MAC AIDS Established in 1994, the M·A·C AIDS Fund supports men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. Each year, the Fund helps more than 400 worldwide charitable organizations working to combat the epidemic. Grants given out by the Fund are generated from 100 percent of sales from M·A·C Cosmetics’ Viva Glam lipstick and lipgloss. …

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Gwendolyn E. Boyd

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Gwendolyn E. Boyd Just by being a black female engineer, Gwendolyn E. Boyd challenges the world’s perceptions and assumptions about black women. Just by being a black female engineer who cares about the single biggest killer of African American women, Boyd has also had a profoundly positive effect on countless lives in the health …

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Rashidah Abdul-Khabeer

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Click the image to view full size Rashidah Abdul-Klabeer As an epidemiology nurse in a major medical center in Philadelphia in 1983, Rashidah Abdul-Khabeer saw right away how AIDS was going to affect the Black community. At the time, the national profile for persons with AIDS was white, gay and male, but the first …

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Patti LaBelle

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Patti LaBelleArtist “I still have so much more to do, so many other things to try. I have a lot of blessings, a lot to be thankful for, but I’m always excited about what else there is for me to do.” It’s hard to believe that such humble words could come from the lips …

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George E. Curry

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} George E. Curry “No one should overlook the devastating toll this deadly disease has taken on the African American community.” Words to live by. But then again, this hero has written enough words on HIV/AIDS to fill volumes. “The truth is that all of us, including the media, must do more. It should not …

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Dr. Marjorie Hill

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Dr. Marjorie Hill “If you can’t talk about the ways you contract HIV, if you can’t exchange information, then people die. This has been the challenge [of AIDS] from the beginning and it continues to be the challenge today. We have much work to do,” says Dr. Marjorie Hill. She understood very early on …

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Coretta Scott King

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Coretta Scott King Coretta Scott King is one of the most influential women in the world. She entered the world stage in 1955 as wife of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and as a leading participant in the American Civil Rights Movement. Some five decades later, Mrs. King remains as passionate as …

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Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith “When I see anybody who suffers with AIDS, I don’t see them as other, I see them as an extension of myself.” Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith’s life is a living testament to building an all-inclusive spiritual community, one that includes those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. In the 1970s, …

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Rev. Edwin C. Sanders, ll

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Rev. Edwin C. Sanders, llFaithful The church founded by Reverend Edwin C. Sanders, II has been called a lot of things—the AIDS church, the crack church.  But one thing you won’t hear it being called is a church without compassion. That’s because the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church of Nashville, Tennessee, welcomes all of God’s children. …

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Hill Harper

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Hill Harper “I’m proud to be among the growing number of people on the forefront.” He could be talking about his work motivating young Black men, his efforts in the struggle with HIV/AIDS, or his own career, but Hill Harper is a man who would rather talk about others than himself. Maybe that’s one …

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