James 2:18 says, “…It is by my deeds that I will show you my faith.”
Here is a taste of a speech I gave at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles for the LA County HIV Commission and Black Caucas on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.
This past Friday, December 1st marked the 35th Anniversary to commemorate “World Aids Day” with the theme being “Remember and Commit.” As the Senior Pastor of Vision Church Los Angeles, a BOLD, SAFE and SPIRITUAL space for ALL people to encounter God. We believe it is our mission to ACT and Be a VOICE particularly within the Black LGBTQ+ community/ecclesia to eradicate stigma, shame and ultimately End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic.
While we celebrate the tremendous progress accomplished; however, we also recognize the challenges we must overcome, given the disproportionate impact —HIV continues to have on the Black community. For instance,
-Black people accounted for 42% of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S.
-Black women made up 54% of new HIV diagnoses among all women.
-Black gay, bisexual, and same-gender loving men comprise 26% of all new HIV diagnoses and 37% of HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men.
There are 39 million people living with HIV worldwide and over 57,000 living with HIV in Los Angeles County.
This data is a compelling indication, we have more work to do. The evolution of the Black Church, the Black Faith experience is not Monolithic and neither is GOD colorblind.
On this 6th Day of December — I and the Partners of Vision Church Los Angeles not only do we commit to REMEMBER those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS-related illnesses, but we COMMIT to the Intersection of FAITH and the wisdom of science, to unite universally in the power of love, hope and healing for our Nation —-encouraging ALL people to “KNOW YOUR STATUS” because U=U.
Thee Affirmation: Black is Beautiful, Black is Righteous, and Black is Brilliance.
Our Church will continue to stand as a Signpost that Love and Acceptance is a start to reducing stigma and saving a life.
In the immortal words of Dr. Cornel West, “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people.”