Last Saturday I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the first ever leadership summit hosted by the Arizona Black AIDS Task Force (AZBATF). This summit was created to recruit and train individuals interested in joining the fight against HIV. The African-American community has been hit hard by the HIV virus and this organization was created to address (and hopefully amend) the disproportianate impact this disease is having.
The purpose of the day was to create a speakers bureau for AZBATF. The day was developed to equip those in attendance with the knowledge and skills needed to comfortably address anyone about HIV/AIDS and its impact on black folks. We were informed on not only the history of HIV but also on the modes of transmission, the impact on Black women, the impact on men, and myths and fallacies about the disease.
The event was phenomenal. Some of of the biggest leaders in the HIV fight were on hand including MiAsia Pasha, RJ Shannon, and Kirk Baxter. Lunch was provided by Karim's, one the finest soul food restaurants known to Phoenix. There were representatives on hand from TERROS, the AZ State Dept. of Health Services, AZUSA Church Ministries and several other AIDS Service organizations and faith based organizations from Phoenix and Tucson. The diversity in the room was amazing and the energy and enthusiasm continued from breakfast to adjourning. Towards the end of the day several individuals were given the opportunity to put their newly acquired skills to the test. They delivered impromptu speeches to the room using the info they gained that day.
It was exciting to see this many people gathered for this amazing event and I'm personally looking forward to the next AZBATF program.