LOS ANGELES, June 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of the 35th anniversary of the first reported HIV/AIDS cases in the United States and LGBT Pride Month in Los Angeles, the Black Treatment Advocates Network Los Angeles (BTAN LA), in partnership with Bienestar, Christopher Street West (CSW), Watts Health Foundation, and Car Pros Kia of Carson is thrilled to announce the launch of "Black, Brown and Beyond: Building Our Future," a powerful new campaign designed to spotlight the HIV/AIDS epidemic among gay and bisexual, same gender loving and other men of color who have sex with men. The campaign will kick off at the 2016 LA Pride Festival June 10-12, 2016 and annual CSW parade, and a series of AIDS awareness activations, HIV testing events in four public housing complexes located in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, and a weekend retreat in the month of June.
"Thirty-five years ago this week, the world was introduced to a strange new disease that would become the health catastrophe of our time, when the CDC released a report citing the first cases of a strange disease among five white gay men at UCLA. Today that disease is AIDS and the most at risk population on the planet are gay and bisexual men of color in the United States. The Black AIDS Institute is thrilled to launch this effort in partnership with our BTAN LA partners and our long term friend, Bienestar."
Throughout the Festival, HIV testing will be provided by BTAN LA partners the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), T.H.E. Clinic, the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and Bienestar at the Hip-Hop Stage. BAI will also join Bienestar in providing HIV testing at the Latino stage. BTAN partner, Men's Health Foundation will also be providing PrEP consultations and referrals at the DPHS "Protectors" tent and at the Hip Hop stage.
Bienestar and all the BTAN LA partners, JWCH, REACH LA, Men's Health Foundation, NCNW, and T.H.E. Clinic are working together to create the largest gay men of color presence in the history of the CSW parade. The contingent will include music, the Men's Health Foundation float, the NCNW and Bienestar mobile testing vans, the Diamond Imperial Drill Team from Imperial Courts in Watts, an Aztec dance group, and marching flag group with flags from African and Latin countries.
BTAN LA invites all to come celebrate LGBT pride and march for Black and Brown lives in this memorable day in Los Angeles Black and Latino history. Whether you want to hold a flag or banner, carry a poster, dance on the float, or march along, BTAN LA would love to have you!
Individuals interested in participating in the BTAN contingent in the parade should meet at 9:00 a.m. at Fountain Ave. and Crescent Heights Blvd. in West Hollywood, Calif. on Sunday, June 12.
"The HIV/AIDS numbers in both the Black and Latino MSM community are alarming. The collaboration between Bienestar, the Black AIDS Institute and BTAN LA to work together and continue to create solidarity is one of many ways to address the needs in Los Angeles County," said Oscar De La O, CEO of Bienestar.
The weekend after CSW (June 17-19, 2016), BTAN LA will host the "Revolution in Color Leadership Summit." The Summit will develop advocacy, skills and team building, and leadership development, as well as create a space for leaders to enjoy such activities as games, a hike, and a talent show! The Summit is open to Black gay, bisexual, and same gender loving men ages 18-29 who want to further secure and strengthen themselves as community leaders in Los Angeles County. Travel, lodging, meals, and materials will be covered for all members of Revolution in Color!
Finally, acknowledging that Black and Brown gay and bisexual men, live, work, pray and play all over the county, especially in South LA, BTAN LA and the Watts Health Foundation will be sponsoring HIV testing events from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on select dates in June and July at various public housing complexes in Watts. The schedule is as follows:
June 25: Jordan Downs Recreation Center, 9900 Grape St., Los Angeles, CA 90002
July 9: Nickerson Gardens Recreation Center, 112521 Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90059
July 16: Avalon Gardens Recreation Center, 701 E. 88th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90061
Anyone who gets tested at the Pride Festival, at any of the Watts testing events, or any of the Drive Out AIDS partner organizations will be entered into a free raffle for a brand new 2016 Kia Forte from Car Pros Kia of Carson, the official sponsor of the Drive Out AIDS campaign. For more information, call or text 323-536-1083.
All those who want to join the parade, volunteer, participate in the Watts testing program, find the nearest Drive Out AIDS testing site near you, or register for the Revolution in Color Leadership Summit please email GeraldG@BlackAIDS.org or call 213-353-3610 x. 102.
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SOURCE Black AIDS Institute