Close Up: Chicago LGBTQA Black History Recognitions

History In The Making

February is the month when we honor our community members for their accomplishments and hard work. Together, Chicago Department of Public Health and Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus produced an event to thank our current Black LGBTQA heroes. We also acknowledged Caucus participants with our annual From The Heart Award.

Our honorees were community leaders in Chicagoland that inspire change and work daily to create visibility to our social and holistic needs:

  • Otis Richardson: Activist, entrepreneur, and proprietor of “Lavender Pop Greeting Cards”
  • Jamie Frazier: Activist and pastor of Lighthouse Church of Chicago
  • E Nina Jay: Activist, poet, and spoken word artist
  • LaSaia Wade: Activist, community organizer and founder of Brave Space Alliance
  • Bernard Jenkins: LGBTQA ally and pastor of West Point Baptist Church
  • Kentrele Mizrahi: LGBTQA youth activist and Legendary Father of Ballroom the House of Mizrahi

Special Memorial Recognition

  • Jackie Anderson: LGBTQA activist

From the Heart Awards

  • James Deloach: Activist, caucus volunteer, and Chicago Public School teacher
  • Sydney Thomas: Activist and strategist

Close Up: A Celebration Of Black LGBT Business

All about Bid’ness

In honor of Black History Month, the Illinois LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus celebrated our spirit of entrepreneurship in our community. We brought together Black LGBT business owners from all over Chicago to share lessons learned and network.

Our panelists were a mix of go-getters from fashion, non-profit administration, and finance:

  • Reformed School’s Peter Gaona
  • Pride Action Tank’s Kim Hunt
  • Taylor Mason of Taylor’s Tacos
  • Brian D. Johnson from the Commonwealth Initiative

Celebrating their achievements and listening to their experiences helps us build a strong and vibrant community.

We’re Getting to Zero

HIV Elimination, Black Gay Men, and Community Involvement

Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus is excited to help lead Illinois’s effort in getting to zero new infections and zero detectability.

Together with our colleagues, we realize the moral imperative of taking action today. Health can’t wait.

Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, gay men of all races have been hounded by a disease that threatened to derail our lives. And while our city and state have made great strides in curbing HIV over the last decade, current data tells us that 1 in 2 Black gay men will contract HIV in our lifetime. I continue to see men in my community diagnosed on a daily basis.

This is an unacceptable crisis.

However, recent years have blessed us with new tools, like Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and testing technology that can detect acute infection (giving us the opportunity to link someone into care at the beginning of their infection, when it can make the most difference).

We also have new scientific revelations, like Treatment as Prevention and Undetectable=Untransmittable, which together tell us that achieving an undetectable viral load is in the best health interests of not only our clients but their intimate partners. Our friends, family, and loved ones deserve access to these tools and knowledge.

We have a new opportunity to stop this epidemic in its tracks and ensure that every hard-working member of our Chicago community achieves the health they deserve.

Of course, as leaders we are merely conduits to ensure that the voices, perspectives, and expertise of our communities are brought to bear on this work. How many of us have been dreaming of an end to this war with HIV? How many of us have clients who tell us every day about the things that get in the way of their health? How many of us have been directly impacted by HIV and know that having a living-wage job or affordable housing had a part to play in that?

You have the ideas that will become winning strategies. Therefore, we are creating regular and frequent opportunities for you, the community, to join in this work. From forums to webinars, interviews to online chats. We will work hard to get to you and keep a seat for you at the table.

So join us and let’s work together to Eliminate HIV, Achieve an AIDS-Free Generation, and Get to Zero!

Trendsetters To Watch

Reposted from RIZEUPmagazine
March 11, 2017

“Since it’s inception, the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus has been setting trends. It also has a rich history of leadership development with National Youth Pride Services, electing several of it’s young adults to chair youth committees over the years, as well as, co- sponsoring many socially forward events with NYPS back in the day.

That was then, this is now. 2017 looks to be another amazing chapter for this group.”

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Black History Month is every month

Reposted from Windy City Times
March 8, 2017
By Ramon Gardenhire

“But for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) family, our focus on Black history and improving the future of Black and brown people doesn’t just happen in February—it happens every day of the year. We stand alongside the communities most burdened by HIV: young gay and bisexual Black men, transgender women of color and Black cisgender women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, in 2015, African-Americans accounted for 45 percent of all HIV diagnoses, though they make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population.

How do we aim to reverse these alarming trends and support the Black community? By uplifting Black liberation through my team’s policy and advocacy work. By defending the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid from destruction. By uniting with organizations that support Black communities in Chicago, like the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus. By making Black lives a priority not just during February but every single day.”

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