A movement for change: June is AIDS Education Month

AIDS Education Month photoblog
An early AIDS Education Month event (courtesy of Philly FIGHT via Facebook)

Did you know that, according the CDC, about 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of 2010? Since 1993, Philadelphia FIGHT has been hosting AIDS Education Month to help people living with the virus and with AIDS. This June, there are free events all month long designed to bring the community together to discuss how to promote better awareness of the issue and how to find new strategies to fight the virus.

On Thursday, June 5, the first Step Up Against AIDS will be hosted by DJ Diamond Kuts from Power 99 at the Temple University Performing Arts Center. Geared toward young people and university students, this event uses stepping, a long tradition in African American communities, to promote awareness and prevention. Free Rapid HIV Testing will be available starting at 5:00 p.m., and the event will begin at 7 p.m. A free ticket for Hip Hop Featuring Wale later in the month to those between the ages of 13 and 24 who get tested.

This Saturday, June 7 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., you can join the 4th annual Faith Leaders and Community Summit at the Philadelphia Marriott in downtown Philly. The summit will focus on helping community leaders promote HIV prevention and testing. The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., former pastor of President Barack Obama, will be the keynote speaker.

Beyond the Walls: Prison Health Care & Re-entry Summit will take place on Tuesday, June 10 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch Streets. Come be a part of the discussion on health and other re-entry challenges people face on being released from prison. Michelle Alexander, The New York Times Best-Selling Author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness will be the keynote speaker. The hours of the summit are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The COLOURS Organization is co-hosting the Legendary Crystal Ball along with Philly FIGHT on Saturday, June 14 at 7 p.m. at Hamilton Hall at the University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street. This year’s theme is Return to Oz. During the ball, cash prizes will be given out, and the special guest will be Mutha Knows from Power 99.

Another AIDS Education Month event is planned for Wednesday, June 18. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The 15th Annual Prevention & Outreach Summit will bring together people living with HIV/AIDS, those working in the HIV field, and those who are trying to bring more awareness to this issue to learn the latest information and research on the AIDS epidemic. Paul Kawata, Executive Director of the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) and Professor Farid Esack, a Professor in the Study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg, will be opening plenary speakers.

A special event in honor of Kiyoshia Kuronmiya called Movements for Change will be held on Tuesday, June 24 at The Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street in Philadelphia from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. This year, the event will focus on the immigration movements happening both nationally and locally. Panelists will include Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos as well as Fernando Chang-Muy M.A., J.D., the Thomas O’Boyle Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Hip Hop Featuring Wale is sponsored by Philadelphia FIGHT and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Both organizations hope that by offering a free hip hop concert on National HIV Testing Day, Friday, June 27 that they can motivate 2,000 young people to get tested for HIV. Teenagers and young adults aged 13-24 will receive a free ticket to see Grammy-nominated hip hop recording artist Wale if they get a free HIV test at a variety of participating locations throughout the city on or before June 27, 2014. The concert will take place at the Trocadero, 1003 Arch Street, at 7 p.m.

At the end of the month, there will be a community cookout on Saturday, June 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Fairmount Park, Area #2, 33rd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue,  and there will be a gospel concert on Sunday, June 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, 6401 Ogontz Avenue. Marvin Sapp will be headlining the concert. Other performers include: Bishop Ernest McNear and the True Gospel Tabernacle Choir, and many more.

All of the AIDS Education Month events are free, but some require registration. Visit http://www.aidseducationmonth.org/ for more detailed information.