Pastors Lead the Fight to End HIV
Posted on July 24, 2013 by Reverend Keron R. Sadler, NAACP Manager of Health Programs
On Sunday, July 14th pastors across America partnered with the NAACP on the Day of Unity to preach about HIV as a social justice issue. The annual day brought together faith leaders nationwide to join the movement to stop the social injustices that have led to the unequal impact HIV is having in their communities.
Nearly 100 pastors preached from the pulpit about HIV, many held testing events at their church and even were tested themselves to show their parishioners how simple it is. Here are just a few of the great examples of Day of Unity action we received:
- Dr. Timothy W. Sloan, the senior pastor at The Luke in Humble, TX held a testing event at the church and was tested during his sermon for the second year in a row. He wrote on The Luke’s blog, “I have come to realize that not dealing with HIV is an act of pastoral and prophetic irresponsibility. HIV is in the church and the church must address it to bring about change!” Pastor Sloan was also recognized by a local TV station for his work with HIV.
- Rev. Charles Straight of the Faith United Methodist Church in Dolton, Il delivered a sermon about HIV as a social justice issue and then posted it on YouTube so that everyone could hear his message.
- Rev. Tony Lee, founder and Senior Pastor of the Community of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hillcrest Heights, MD received an influx of new parishioners as a result of the church’s participation in the Day of Unity and HIV testing event. Just on Sunday, July 14th, the Community of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church tested 237 individuals and distributed condoms and literature on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Bishop Kenneth Dupree, founder and senior pastor of The Victor Church of Nashville, TN also was tested for HIV during his sermon as he preached about how HIV is disproportionately impacting the Black community. The churches participation in the Day of Unity and free HIV testing was featured in a story by a local TV station.
We thank all of the faith leaders who joined the NAACP in the second annual Day of Unity. The fight is not over until we have put an end to the alarming numbers of HIV in the Black Community. We can do it because you, and other Black faith leaders such as these pastors are a winning team and we will fight until this battle is over!
If you would like to join NAACP in the fight to save lives from HIV, visit our website TheBlackChurchandHIV.org--and always, know your status. Locate a testing center in your community today.