We can celebrate or commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day all we want. However, until heterosexual Black men show up in force in AIDS advocacy and activism -- ballers and barbers, pastors and politicians, garbage men and griots -- ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic will just be dream.
Straight Black men are even too homophobic and ignorant to make AIDS activism a "fashion statement" with a red ribbon. We are reluctant to own our role in rising and enduring HIV infection rates; the devastating numbers connected to sexual and domestic violence; and our absence in raising and educating young people -- particularly young Black men -- around sexuality and personal responsibility and accountability.
Sure there are some of us out there NOT named Magic Johnson who are visible and articulating some of these issues, but not nearly enough. And not nearly enough visible who have the power to vote, ability to work and procreate. Black women and children today need us to walk with them in our streets, schools and churches as well as to our legislators' offices with demands that categorically address the factors that contribute to and prolong the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Black community and beyond.
Black heterosexual men must put aside their fear and ignorance. We must shed our selfishness and self loathing and fight openly to save our families and culture. We must enter this ultimate activism with the full-throated presence we are capable of.
In many indigenous African civilizations Woman represents peace and the creation of life. Today, heterosexual Black men represent the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
We must accept this willingly and spiritually.
Ready to get involved? JOIN the Campaign to End AIDS today!