Black Lives Matter: A Call for Justice and Equity

June 2, 2020

Black Lives Matter.

The Black lives of AVAC’s staff, partners and friends matter. The Black lives of those who live near our office in Harlem matter. The Black lives of those on the streets across the United States and around the world calling for justice and equity matter. It’s more important than ever to say these fundamental truths.

Since AVAC’s founding 25 years ago, our focus has been advocating for solutions to HIV, a virus that disproportionately affects Black and Brown people around the world. In 2020, we have widened our focus to advocate for an equitable response to COVID-19, another virus that is disproportionately devastating Black and Brown communities in the US and – increasingly – around the world.

We are HIV and global health advocates and activists, and our work is fundamentally about social justice and human rights. In the United States, police brutality is a moral, ethical and public health crisis that must be addressed by every one of us.

We can’t be silent. We won’t be silent. We join the call for true leadership from our government, for an end to police brutality and for justice and equity that addresses the systemic racism in the United States. We know we can’t address HIV or COVID-19 without addressing this insidious epidemic that also attacks communities of color, and we are committed to working with partners and allies to address it.

The AVAC team stands in solidarity with the families of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and the thousands of others whose names we know and those whose names we don’t know, who have lost their lives and opportunities to the epidemic of racism. We stand in solidarity with those on the streets every day calling for justice.

As an organization, AVAC is committed to coming together to interrogate our own privilege and power and ensure we do better as allies and partners. We know it won’t be easy and we know we won’t always get it right, but we are committed to listening, responding and learning. And we commit to redoubling our work of advocating for equity, diversity and social justice as we continue to seek solutions to HIV and other public health crises.