Faith plays a major role in the lives of many Americans. Many find faith to be a connection to a spiritual being, deity or creator. Unfortunately for many Americans living with HIV, faith communities can turn from a place of refuge to a source of stigma and turmoil.
On August 27, 2017, RAHMA (www.haverahma.org) and its partners will spearhead the first Faith HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. The goal is to rally all US communities representative of the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu and Baha’i faiths to take a stand against stigma in their congregations and raise awareness on HIV/AIDS. To make this day a success, 13 Faith Ambassadors will be placed in 15 major cities that are affected by high incidence and prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS. Advised by a steering committee comprised of leaders from across the nation, the Ambassadors will engage religious leaders of their cities, and rally the local community to make the day a success. The targeted cities are New York City, Washington DC/ Baltimore, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Baton Rouge, Memphis, Charlotte, Columbia, Jackson, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia.
Washington, DC will feature the main event and seeks to rally at Freedom Plaza. Faith leaders and activists around the US will speak out against stigma, educate the audience on how to get involved and advise on ways to create safe spaces in faith communities. After the rally there will be networking, free HIV Testing and more. The night before, a high level reception will take place at the Human Rights Campaign.
A powerful social media campaign will promote the event. A video with representatives of diverse faiths will call others to action and join in on this very important day. Pictures will also be disbursed over social media with diverse faith representatives.
The ultimate goal of this day is for it to be recognized on the AIDS.gov calendar and create change in faith communities across the nation, making it a safe space for those who are living with HIV.
Some of the organizations that are involved
- ADAP Advocacy Association
- Advocates for Youth
- Atlanta Faith in Action
- Black AIDS Institute
- U.S. Department of State
- Empact Africa
- Health HIV
- Islamic Relief USA
- Balm in Gilead
- National LGBT Task Force
- United Church of Christ
- US Zen Institute
- World Council of Churches
- Baha’i Faith Community & Avenir Health
- Kingdom International Ministries Virtual Church-KIMVC
- Presbyterian AIDS Network (PAN) (PHEWA) Presbyterian Church (USA)
Khadijah Abdullah founded National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to unite faiths across the country to address HIV/AIDS stigma and work towards creating safe spaces for all in their respective communities.
Khadijah is the founder of RAHMA (Reaching All HIV+ Muslims in America) which means mercy in Arabic. RAHMA’s mission is to address HIV/AIDS in the American Muslim community through education, advocacy and empowerment. RAHMA has also engaged in interfaith work to create a stronger impact in addressing HIV/AIDS stigma. To learn more about RAHMA please visit www.haverahma.org.
Khadijah holds a degree in public health from Southern Connecticut State University.
Pastor William Francis
Pastor William Francis is Lead Servant at Atlanta Faith in Action, “The AFIACenter,” an Integrated Care Ministry that’s transforming ministry, minds, lives and souls in order to change communities and the World in which we live.
The AFIA Center wraps social services around ministry and offers the community: Medical, Dental and Behavioral Health Services?Emotional Wellness?Case Management?Medical Insurance Assistance?Linkage and Retention to Care Services?Free HIV, HCV, STI Testing?Financial, Tax and Legal Workshops?Employment and Job Readiness Training ? GED Prep, Tutoring and Mentoring?Reentry Programs?Substance Abuse Support Groups ? Assistance with State, Federal and Local Benefit Programs?Food Pantry and Clothes Closet ? Hygiene Kits ? Utility Assistance?Housing Services.
Pastor Francis is an Author, Life Coach, Ambassador for the Black Church and HIV: Social Justice Initiative and Visionary behind William Francis Ministries, whose personal ministry has reached over 73 million people globally.
He embodies what he has coined, “The H3 Ministry Model: Help, Hope and Heal.”
Pastor William is excited to work on FHAAD because he knows all to well that at the intersection of HIV and Faith is one’s Healing.
Elder George Kerr
Elder George Kerr is a nationally renowned community activist and grassroots non-profit executive who is a staple in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan Area for more than 23 years. He service as a volunteer Co-Moderator for The Presbyterian AIDS Network (PAN) PHEWA, PC USA. We welcome those who advocate with and care for persons and families who have been infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. He is now the CEO of G III Associates. G III Associates is committed to advocating, educating and collaborating for social justice through harm reduction.? Together we can build a healthier community
The reason I am participating in this amazing event I am putting my faith in action. As a community, we need a interfaith response to if we are going to end the stigma.
Ulysses W. Burley III is the founder of UBtheCURE, LLC a consulting company on the intersection of faith, health, and human rights. He previously served as an associate at Northwestern University School of Medicine’s Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Clinical Research Unit and Program Director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Strategy on HIV/AIDS. He is currently a member of the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. “I am participating in the planning and execution of National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day because I believe that science and medicine has given us all we need to treat HIV, but love, compassion, and dignity are what we need to treat people – and the faith community can offer that. I hope this event receives the recognition it deserves and sends a rallying cry to Americans and the world at large that faith is a solution and not a problem in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”
Learn more about Ulysses III at www.ubthecure.com at www.ubthecure.com
Cedric D. Pulliam
Civil Service Officer
Cedric D. Pulliam is a career Civil Service Officer of the U.S. Department of State where he has served in the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy (PEPFAR) and the Office of Economic and Regional Affairs (Bureau of African Affairs) – where he serves as the Economic Development, ESTH (Health), and Multilateral Affairs Officer. He is the founder of CDP Career Consulting, LLC a consulting firm that provides career services within the United States and serving clients virtually throughout Europe and Asia. He was recently appointed on the Alexandria Commission on HIV/AIDS (Virginia) and is leading the first ever Regional HIV/AIDS Policy and Planning Summit that will take place in the lead up to World AIDS Day 2017 bringing together those working in the epidemic response in the DC, MD, and VA region. He serves on the Board of the Gay Men’s Health Collaborative of the Inova Juniper Program of Fairfax, VA and as a Testing and Outreach Volunteer. “I got involved in the planning of National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day because I am a firm believer that the initial responders in the domestic/global HIV response were devoted clergy and faith leaders and I pray that this interfaith effort can bring to light the core significance of working together regardless of which faith community we may belong to.”
Senior Health Policy Analyst
Dr. Katharine Kripke has been working in the HIV/AIDS field for over 25 years. She completed her Ph.D. in Immunology from Stanford University in 2000 and since then has served in different capacities, including at the Office of HIV/AIDS at USAID, as Assistant Director of the Vaccine Program at the Division of AIDS, NIAID, NIH, and most recently conducting mathematical modeling to inform international public health policy at Avenir Health. She considers herself an HIV prevention and social justice advocate and incorporates these perspectives into her work.
Dr. Kripke has been a member of the Baha’i Faith for 21 years. The Baha’i Faith has no clergy, and Dr. Kripke is serving on the National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day task force as an interested individual, but not as an official representative of the US Baha’i community. The Baha’i Faith teaches the harmony of science and religion, and like all religions, it teaches the inherent nobility of every human being and the importance of justice and of caring for the sick and needy. “I joined the task force because I believe that it is important to recognize the spiritual dimensions of HIV/AIDS as well as the scientific and social dimensions. I believe faith communities need to better support our members who are infected with and at risk for HIV, and to avoid stigmatizing the disease and people affected by it. Faith communities should be havens of support and love for their members – in order to do so, they need to be educated about HIV/AIDS.”