Wednesday , June 17, 2020
Roy Charles Brooks
Rodney Ellis
Dr. Helen Holton
Executive Director
We hope you are safe and healthy during this lengthy pandemic. These are indeed stressful times. So it’s extremely important not only to us – but also to the people we serve – that we remain strong mentally and physically.
Epidemics, Pandemics and Black Lives Matter
For years we have had to deal with the global epidemic of HIV, and this year we added a global pandemic. COVID-19 has hit the black community hard, just like HIV/AIDS did more than 30 years ago. Unfortunately, this is inevitable reality given the social and political construct of our society. Without adequate resources and investment, we were destined to reap the results we’re living today. Unlike other countries, we did not prepare for COVID-19. We had so little testing available and unless you had symptoms you could not get tested. And many insurance companies wouldn’t cover the cost of testing.

          In the midst of this pandemic, we must not forget the prevalence of the HIV epidemic. June 27th is National HIV Testing Day (#NHTD), it’s an important time to remind people to get tested to live; whether its COVID or HIV, especially as states are reopening. There are options for HIV testing during COVID-19. There’s mail-in, clinical, and rapid self-test available. There are pros and cons for each of these tests it is just a matter of which fits best for the person. In the black community, largely due to stigma and a lack of education and information, the reluctance to testing for HIV has been high. And now it’s bled over into COVID-19 testing. The problem is we don’t trust the healthcare system.

          It is easy to understand why people in the black community would be hesitant or downright resistant towards testing for COVID-19 and HIV. Healthcare in America has not always been kind or fair to black people. There are plenty of times where we’ve been harmed. We can see this by looking at the Tuskegee experiment. A study that was only supposed to go on for 6 months lasted 40 years. The men that agreed to the experiment were told that they would be examined and treated. However, it was later shown that there was zero evidence to show that the men were informed of the real purpose of the study, let alone treated with anything beyond a placebo. True consent could not be given since they had not been given all the information. Let’s take a look at Fannie Lou Hamer, she received a hysterectomy without consent. Her doctor was supposed to only remove a uterine tumor. What happened to Hamer was not something that was a one off, it was known as the “Mississippi Appendectomy”.

          We have continually been hurt by a system that was supposed to heal us. We have slowly begun to trust the healthcare system, but it’s still a precarious relationship. People in the black community who do choose to seek help from a medical professional have not always been treated kindly. Black women have been treated differently than their white counterpart. When soon-to-be black mothers go into labor they are typically seen as less important. Many women will complain of pain, but doctors and nurses do not take them seriously. When black men and women get hurt and go to the hospital, they are less likely to be prescribed a high dose painkiller.

          The final question is, how can we begin to trust this system to help us? There are many ways to do this. One is to be work towards having more blacks as providers of healthcare into the healthcare system; this includes executives and system administrators. Improvements in accessibility in communities of color is important as well. With greater opportunity to help ourselves, we can begin to make the system work better for us. The implementation of required courses on systemic racism and unconscious bias in medical schools are great places to begin to shift the social determinants of health towards improvement. Some medical schools have begun to integrate classes with a focus on racial disparities like Keisha Ray, Ph.D., an assistant professor at University of Texas Medical School. 

If we can begin to get rid of these racial biases by bringing awareness of then we can begin to make inroads into why Black Lives Matter to the many who just don’t get it. Early detection is always the faster path to better health and all too often it begins with testing. On June 27th, let’s remind people of the importance of testing to live. It’s one of the best ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement by ensuring that we’re living healthy.
While the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges for voters during the 2020 election cycle, voting access for the 700,000 people held in local jails around the country has long been critically compromised. Despite the fact that the vast majority of this population is eligible to vote because they are either awaiting trial or serving a non-felony sentence, few jurisdictions have enacted provisions for electoral participation.

The Sentencing Project and Campaign Legal Center invite you to join a webinar highlighting jurisdictions around the country that actively support ballot access for people detained in jails. It features state advocates and organizers working to register persons to vote, as described in the recent report of The Sentencing Project, 

Last Monday, June 8, 2020, Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ), and Senator Kamala Harris, along with 164 other House Members and 33 other Senators, introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020.

The Justice in Policing Act is the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities. This sweeping legislation will take numerous key steps to achieve transformative, structural change to combat the pattern of police brutality and racial injustice, including banning chokeholds, ending racial profiling, establishing a National Police Misconduct Registry, and demilitarizing the police.

As of today, the bill now has over 200 House Members as cosponsors and is slated for swift consideration on the floor of the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, the House Judiciary Committee held an Oversight Hearing on Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability.

On Thursday, June 11, 2020, the Congressional Black Caucus held a Forum on Police Accountability.

On Friday, June 12, 2020, CBC Chair Karen Bass delivered the Weekly Democratic Address.

On Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at 10:00 am ET, the House Judiciary Committee will hold an official Markup of H.R. 7120, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020.

The Internet of Things: A Brief Explainer
The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to objects, appliances, systems, and other traditionally offline items connected to the Internet to improve the lives of wireless consumers and society at large. From smart ovens to traffic lights that can prevent accidents, 5G's increased speed and capacity will allow smart cities, homes, and manufacturing facilities to flourish as an increased number of IoT devices connect to the network.
From the Eye’s of a Gen Z”
By: Kaitlyn “Charlie” Gullet
In the last week we have seen the people of the world band together in the largest civil rights movement ever to happen. However, popular to contrary belief this isn’t just about the death of George Floyd. He just happened to be the last straw for us. What we have seen is the black community, in the words of Fannie Lou Hamer, is “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” For years, we have seen the murder of our people with no justice, and now we have taken to shouting “No justice, no peace”.

           While “No justice, no peace” has been shouted and chanted, another has become popular “defund the police”, which has been misconstrued. Most of the people who say
“defund the police” are not saying that we should get rid of the police, it is less “defund” and more of a “reform”. We have already seen parts of the reform start to happen. The Democrats in Congress have already taken action in this reform. These protests over police brutality have spurred them to to create the bill known as the Justice in Policing Act. This bill will help target the four big issues of the police: justice for victims, accountability, training and policies, and transparency.

           These protests haven’t just caused us to fix the problems we have with the police. We have also seen it change other issues that we have in America. The confederate flag and other confederate statues have started to be removed across the country. We are seeing small changes happening, even in my area we are trying to remove the statue of General Custer. These protests haven’t just helped the black community it is slowly starting to hopefully right the wrongs of this nations. With all that is happening, I hope that we are able to continue to make progress . We just need to remember this doesn’t stop at the protests. We need to continue all the way to the local, state, and federal elections. Only then, can we truly make a change.

Kaitlyn Gullet, preferred name “Charlie,” is an Intern with NOBCO. They are a double major in Biochemistry and Biomedical Humanities at Hiram College. As a Gen Z, they offer a different perspective to current events and issues through the lens of their generation.
Together We Can Stop HIV.
 Let’s Stop HIV Together National Campaign

The deadline to apply for ViiV Healthcare's Positive Action Community Grants is July 1!

As part of ViiV Healthcare’s ongoing commitment to supporting community organizations that work to address HIV/AIDS disparities in the U.S. and close gaps in care for those most affected, we are excited to announce the opening of the Positive Action Community Grants 2020 funding cycle for organizations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Proposals will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until July 1 and organizations are encouraged to apply early.

For more information about the Positive Action Community Grants program and submission process, please visit the Community Grants web page.  

Click here to directly access the registration and online: