The State of Our Movement

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There is little doubt that Barack Obama’s election presents not only a historic moment for black America, but one filled with enormous potential for change. As outlined in the State of AIDS in Black America section of this report, the new administration and Congress face grave challenges, but also great opportunities to revive black America’s health. The same can be said of our community’s mobilization to end AIDS.

Our community has never been as well positioned to act on this epidemic as it is at the start of 2009. From politics to popular culture, there is no disputing that black leaders have accepted the reality that AIDS is our problem, and that it cannot be solved without our hard work. That’s an intellectual and emotional step that creates great potential.

Realizing our potential, however, will require far greater resources than are currently available. It will require black organizations to dedicate more of their existing resources—in time, money and priorities—to the epidemic. It will require black individuals to dedicate more of their personal resources. And it will require both public and private funders who care about AIDS to offer far greater and far more meaningful support to the work of black leaders.

The National Black AIDS Mobilization

In 2006, 16 traditional black institutions, in conjunction with the Black AIDS Institute, launched the National Black AIDS Mobilization, by signing on to the National Call to Action and Declaration of Commitment to End the AIDS Epidemic in Black America (see www.BlackAIDS.org for text and list of signatories). The 16 institutions are not typical AIDS organizations—those that have been working hard to provide services, spread the message and birddog policymakers since the epidemic’s start. These groups, many of which have histories that span generations, were founded to meet a wide range of communal needs and concerns; they have now added AIDS to their work.

For the first stage of the mobilization, 12 of the 16 participating organizations completed strategic action plans in 2007. As of the beginning of 2008, the members of the Black AIDS Mobilization had committed, through their strategic action plans, to achieve the following benchmarks in the next five years:

*250,000 black people brought into HIV counseling, testing and linkages to care;

*77,450 black people reached with HIV health-education materials;

*600 HIV health-education events and forums held, focusing on HIV prevention, education, treatment and care. These events will particularly focus on stigma and discrimination;

*72 markets targeted with billboard campaigns;