National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS Benefit
June 17, 2003
The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS hosted its annual benefit on June 11 at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City. The evening event was a fundraiser hosting entertainment and business celebrities who received the organization's "Choose Life Award." Bruce Gordon, president of Verizon Communication's retail markets group, served as the dinner's chair.Adapted from:
"HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for black Americans between the ages of 25 and 34," said Debra Fraser-Howze, the group's president and CEO, and a former member of the Presidential Advisory Council on AIDS. "One in 50 African-American males and one in 160 African-American females are infected with HIV, and African Americans have the highest rates of death from HIV/AIDS."
"Clearly, the epidemic has not gone away," Fraser-Howze said. "Over 22 years, a lot of individuals including communities of color have been impacted. As a result, some folks have AIDS fatigue simply from the longstanding insidiousness of this disease." She said that the African-American community needs to "first, own this epidemic, then second, do something about it through prevention and education and awareness."
During the evening's ceremonies, Gordon said that, "'Choose' is the operative word. People in corporate positions such as mine must choose to be resources in situations like these."
Denis Haysbert, an actor on the Fox series "24" and an award recipient, said, "As a father of two young children, it scares me that I may survive them." Debra Lee, the president and COO of Black Entertainment Television, and Robert Mallet, from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, also received awards for their public service efforts to combat AIDS.
Gay City News (New York City)
06.13.03; Mick Meenan