Black AIDS Institute/Heroes in the Struggle Honors Taraji P. Henson, Laverne Cox, Vanessa Williams, Alfre Woodard, Gina Belafonte, and Gina Brown
The Black AIDS Institute inducts a select group of individuals and organizations that have made commendable heroic contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Black America. The 16th Annual Heroes in the Struggle Awards Presentation & Reception will be held on September 16, 2017, at the Darryl F. Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles at 6:00 PM.
Founded in May 1999, the Black AIDS Institute is the only national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on the Black communities. Our motto is Our People, Our Problem, Our Solution. The Institute’s mission is to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions, leaders, 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 and mobilization from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view.
The 2017 inductees include Taraji P. Henson, Laverne Cox, Vanessa Williams, Alfre Woodard, Gina Belafonte, and Gina Brown. The 2017 Corporate Hero is Novant Health. Black AIDS Institute Board Member Jussie Smollett serves as Chair and Host. The 2017 theme is Black Men Honoring Black Women and celebrated R&B singer/songwriter Ledisi performs a special tribute. The awards presentation is produced by Russelli & Hall.
“At the age of fifteen, I began working with the Black AIDS Institute and I am proud to be a member of the Board of Directors,” said Smollett. “Although it is not spoken about like it used to, the AIDS epidemic is not over, especially in Black communities. I am humbled to pay tribute to these remarkable women in our community.“
Nearly 100 individuals have been inducted into the Heroes in the Struggle Hall of Fame over the last 16 years. It is a photographic tribute to HIV/AIDS allies; elected officials and policymakers; artists from television, film, stage, and music; civil rights leaders; health-care providers; advocates and activists; and people living with HIV/AIDS. Since its debut in 2002, the exhibit has traveled the world—raising awareness; challenging Black Americans, key thought leaders and institutions to get involved in their communities; and generating critical conversation about HIV stigma, testing, prevention, treatment, and care.
“Black women are the single most important engine in the survival of Black people, including with HIV/AIDS,” said Phill Wilson, President, and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “59% of women living with HIV in the United States are Black. Black women account for 60% of the new HIV infections among women and are 16 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than white women. This event not only allows us to acknowledge the invaluable role Black women have played in the AIDS fight, but it helps raise awareness about the devastating impact AIDS continues to have on Black women and the opportunities we have to turn that around if Black men and women work together.”
Tickets and sponsorship packages are priced at various levels, from VIP packages to a limited number of community seats for as little as $75.00. “Because the event is completely underwritten by major donors, every penny raised goes directly into efforts to end the epidemic, help people get into care and stay in care, protect themselves from HIV infections, and advocate for sound HIV/AIDS policies,” said Wilson.
For more information about purchasing tickets, becoming a sponsor, joining the host committee, or placing an advertisement in the program book, go to www.heroesinthestruggle.org or contact Wendell Miller.