A national clergy-led capacity building faith initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), collaborating with the Alameda County office of AIDS, recently hosted a regional symposium entitled “ We’ve Come Too Far To Turn Back Now” to equip clergy and faith leaders to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis among African-Americans.
The symposium took place Jan. 25 at the African American Museum and library at Oakland (AAMLO), sponsored by the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church Technical Assistance Network (MICTAN).
The one-day event provided an opportunity for faith leaders to learn the most up-to-date local and national HIV/AIDS health statistics and to understand the social determinants that increase vulnerability of transmissions among African-Americans.
Rev. Dr. James a. Forbes, senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church, New York, delivered the call to action, and Dr. Mindy Fullilove of Columbia University in New York spoke on the social determinants of HIV/AIDS among African Americans.
In a panel discussion, an African American mother of four told of how she recently learned of her HIV Positive diagnosis. She has not even her children yet. “African American females who have this disease suffer in silence,” she said. “Do not forget about us.”
She said she has considered suicide but hopes to live a normal life. “I still want to date,” she said. “I still want to fall in love.”
There will be a series of four monthly follow-up seminars facilitated by renowned experts, providing a forum where leaders can study public health principles and engage in open discussion and reflection to develop and implement a community mobilization plan targeting HIV/AIDS in their local areas.
MICTAN, established in 2004, goes throughout the country giving assistance to faith leaders. To register for the free upcoming seminars call toll-free 1-888-761-3876 or email [email protected]
To attend the next event, go to the Eventbrite link for on-line registration, www.eventbrite.com/org/3108973534
Local contacts are Rev. Donna Allen (510) 593-5602; Carla Dillard Smith (510) 379-4016; and Fred Smith (925)339-6986.