NAACP & Gilead Sciences Commit to Action at Clinton Global Initiative
The NAACP and its partner, Gilead Sciences, announced a joint CGI Commitment to Action to enlist faith leaders as change agents to address the disparate impact of HIV/AIDS on the African American community onstage at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting.
Over the next five years, this unique partnership will expand its pilot program, The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative, to reach the 30 cities that account for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s HIV epidemic.
The program focuses on three strategies: providing local trainings for pastors and faith leaders in the Black Church, obtaining formal resolutions from the mainline denominations to incorporate HIV as a social justice issue into Church activities, and facilitating the integration of HIV-focused coursework into required curricula of historically Black seminaries.
Shavon Arline-Bradley, Senior Director of NAACP Health Programs, demonstrated the correlation between HIV/AIDS and social justice, saying:
"The HIV/AIDS epidemic is not just a medical issue, it is a social justice issue. HIV has increasingly attacked the African American community for the last three decades, leaving us with the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in the country. Our program, The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative, serves as a tool in the fight against HIV by giving faith leaders the resources they need to tackle this crisis in their churches."
In the United States, African Americans bear the greatest burden of HIV, with the rate of new infections eight times that of whites. At the same time, African Americans are also the most connected to faith communities, with as many as 20 million congregants regularly attending church.