10 Black HIV/AIDS Advocates Who Are Making a Difference
April 2, 2012
Michael T. Everett, Team Leader of the Capacity Building Assistance Program, Harm Reduction Coalition, New York
"Harm reduction" is a way of dealing with risky behavior to lessen the potential damage done to the individual and the surrounding community. Yet there are so many misconceptions about what harm reduction means, and who it can serve. Most times it's believed to be solely about drug use, which can play into why some communities reject the notion immediately.
Enter Michael Everett. His work at the Harm Reduction Coalition -- a national organization that works with service providers, policymakers and activists to integrate harm reduction practices into their work -- challenges the stigma around harm reduction, and helps communities see how it can work for them. "The people of color in my community -- teachers, young people, politicians and parents -- are oftentimes already stigmatized as drug users and have, therefore, worked hard to be disassociated with any perceived promotion of drug use," Everett explains. Ever since he was first exposed to harm reduction principles through his advocacy work, which has largely been focused on HIV/AIDS, Everett has worked to find ways to share these principles for what they do best -- promote the health and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by the war on drugs.
Nowadays, he gets to work directly with organizations all over the U.S. -- like Brotherhood Inc. in New Orleans and Bronx AIDS Services in New York City -- to use harm reduction principles to their benefit. He also works with groups to apply these principles not only to the kinds of work they do around drug use, but to the ways their organizations work -- identifying potential harms in how their staffs interact with one another and with the communities they serve, so they can do their work in a healthier, more empowering way for all involved. Read more of what Everett has to say about "harm reduction for agencies" in a fascinating article from the publication Harm Reduction Communication.
Comment by: nelson
Tue., May. 28, 2013 at 3:15 am UTC
thank u very much michelle after reading your profile i was uplifted im now sure about how we should handle life after one is diagnose with hiv thanks.
Comment by: Theresa
Tue., Aug. 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm UTC
I have ask myself for 15 years now, where are all the white hiv/aids advocates, mother's daughter's and grandmother's just like me living with hiv. yet to meet or run into at one of many of my 15 years of dr visits a white women just like me?
Comment by: TOM ONSONGO
Wed., Jul. 4, 2012 at 3:01 am UTC
Am a man living with HIV for over 20 years that is when I knew my status. I suffered serious self stigma untill I went through treatment literacy. This changed my life for ever. Today I am a programme director of an NGO fighting HIV in kenya. Correct and accurate informatio on HIV/AIDS is key in fightin this disease.
Comment by: Shanasha Whitson
Wed., Apr. 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm UTC
There are 5, 344.861 people in MN, 5.2 % are black but we make up 33% of people infected in Minnesota. As a medical case manager at The Minneapolis Urban League I offer case management for people of color who are positive. We ofer an array of service that keep people in care and get people connected to services. We have got to take back our power and ensure our communities health and wellness.
Comment by: Teresa Sullivan
Mon., Apr. 9, 2012 at 9:34 am UTC
Congrats Brook Kelly, you deserve to be honored and the PWN is grateful to have you as a ally for women living with HIV/AIDS. Your ROCK!
Comment by: Robin Brennan, DrPH
Tue., Apr. 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm UTC
Michael Everett is an empowering leader and human rights advocate who is truly making a difference. His dedication and compassion are inspiring.
Comment by: Gigi Green
Tue., Apr. 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm UTC
Angela Green is my sister. She is a very special person who makes a difference in many lives. I am so glad that she is being recognized for the wonderful woman that she is.
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