Post submitted by Marvell Terry, former HRC HIV & AIDS Project Manager

HRC Foundation is excited to work with RAHMA and its many partners as they spearhead the inaugural National Faith HIV and AIDS Awareness Day. The goal is to rally all U.S. communities representing different faiths to take a stand against stigma in their congregations and raise awareness on HIV and AIDS.

HRC sat down with Daniel Ball, Faith & Outreach Organizer, Human Rights Campaign, to discuss the need to address HIV in his community and congregation.

How has faith played a role in your life?

Faith, in itself, has always been deeply rooted in how I face the many challenges and adversities I face as a Black, gay man living in the Deep South. Though I don’t identify with one particular denomination, I consider myself very spiritually guided by universal morals, which include loving and treating others as I would like to be treated.

Places of worship have a role in addressing HIV. What ways have you seen that happen?

Very seldom have I seen faith communities take an active role in addressing HIV and AIDS in our community.  This is something I would like to continue to push in Jackson, Mississippi.

What advice would you give others who are attempting to address HIV in a faith setting?

I would recommend being intentional and persistent. Understand that their faith community’s role in addressing issues beyond the congregation should be a key goal in providing a voice against the injustices of marginalized groups of people. No major change in our history has occurred without faith leaders and communities taking a stand on social justice and civil rights issues. Health disparities and the HIV epidemic are civil rights issues.

How will you observe National Faith and HIV & AIDS Awareness Day on August 27?

I will be celebrating National Faith HIV & AIDS Awareness Day by not only spreading the word via social media, but also planning a “Fall Interfaith Symposium” to amplify faith voices encouraging action to help alleviate HIV and AIDS through faith-based outreach.

As a person within the LGBTQ community and of faith, what is one of the core values you believe the faith community need to address HIV?

Faith leaders and communities from across denominations should join together for the common purpose of discussing, addressing and participating in action that supports social justice, human rights, equality and important issues including health disparities and the rising HIV and AIDS epidemic.

To learn more about National Faith HIV and AIDS Awareness Day, visit www.faithaidsday.com.

To learn more about the Human RIghts Campaign's work on these issues, visit www.hrc.org.

Daniel Ball is a native of Jackson, Miss., and a graduate from the University of Mississippi. He currently serves as the Faith and Outreach Organizer for the Human Rights Campaign where he organizes faith leaders and communities for political action. Daniel also helps to identify and create safe, inclusive, and affirming spaces of worship for LGBTQ people. In addition to his role at HRC, Daniel is also the Interfaith Caucus Chair for Young Democrats of Mississippi, and president-elect of the University of Mississippi’s LGBTQ Alumni Association. He works on political campaigns for pro-equality candidates, and mobilizes advocates to take political action against injustices faced by minority groups.


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