What could radical leadership look like from an aligned, collaborative group of people of color under current conditions in HIV community work, and in the HIV movement? A group of leaders in the United States HIV movement has attempted to answer that question, among others, in the framework: A Declaration of Liberation: Building a Racially Just and Strategic HIV Movement.
"Advocates and policymakers are racing to end the HIV pandemic; but that will remain a tall task if we continue to look away from the racial injustices perpetrated on Black and brown bodies," explains Cecilia Chung, Senior Director of Strategic Projects for Transgender Law Center. "It's undeniable that HIV is not a single issue -- it shines a spotlight on multiple forms of inequity, including racism. The updated national HIV strategy guides us to look deeper into social determinants of HIV prevention and treatment; it is time to recognize how oppressions intertwine, and how racial inequity affects who defines the ways HIV prevention and access to care are understood, and every aspect of the pandemic."
The framework, drafted and edited by over 20 HIV movement leaders of color from across the nation in a collaborative process spanning several months following an initial convening in July, with the support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Ford Foundation, serves as a lens for analyzing the present moment and its future implications. It is also an expression of the love being brought to this work from the people doing the work. The framework is a call to summon the magic that emerges when people of color speak and work from the truth of their experience and strategize to build power.
The group hopes the framework will be adopted and used by organizations involved in HIV care, prevention, research and advocacy to analyze and adjust their practices, and that it can also inspire leaders of color working in the HIV movement to join forces and demand a racial justice audit of their organizations. While the framework is a first step, the group intends to create additional resources and tailor them to key areas of the HIV community.
[Note from TheBody.com: This article was originally published by PWN-USA on Nov. 9, 2017. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]