Saving our own lives - Black AIDS Institute

Walters, J.

In 1999, with HIV/AIDS tearing through the African-American community, Phill Wilson and his colleagues began to identify black stakeholders and offer them strategic ways to respond to the epidemic. They are having a substantial impact. Their underlying philosophies and the ways in which these manifest programmatically, include the following: Offer No Recriminations for Past Inaction: The Institute does not begin relationships with anger or blame, only with how to move forward. Integrate HIV/AIDS Into What organizations Are Already Doing: They do not dictate solutions, but instead help communities and groups figure out where and how to integrate HIV/AIDS work, for example, into their educational programs. Intentionally Groom Future Leaders: The Institute offers intensive, multi-year trainings and follow-up with trainees. These include everything from the biology of HIV/AIDS to strategies for community advocacy, media and lobbying. Get the Word Out: Strategies for getting the word out include feeding stories to black media representatives, publishing a newsletter that circulates to over 20,000, and appealing to others’ self interest through offering inserts and other literature to black publications.