HRC Announces Fellowships for 10 Young Nonprofit Leaders Working to End HIV in America

by HRC Staff

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced its selection of 10 outstanding, young community-based leaders for a nine-month fellowship providing high-level training to elevate their work ending HIV in hard-hit U.S. communities.

The HRC HIV 360° initiative is made possible with support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“We are thrilled to be working with this highly-committed and talented group of young leaders who are absolutely critical to ending the HIV epidemic,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training. “Their efforts in American communities hardest hit by HIV are already changing and saving lives. HRC’s HIV 360° program invests in helping them develop management and strategy skills, as well as make valuable contacts in the advocacy world to elevate their work back home.”

“At the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we know how vitally important it is to support and train the next generation of activists and community leaders as a logical extension of our strategy to support HIV-related work being carried out by and for people most affected by the epidemic within their own communities,” said Scott Campbell, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “Having diverse backgrounds and points of view represented in this exciting group of future young leaders selected for HRC’s HIV 360° Fellowship Program is absolutely crucial. We are so proud to support this unique program and look forward to the important work these young scholars will accomplish for their communities.”

The new HRC HIV 360° fellows are: Andrés Cano, Chair, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day Planning Committee, Tucson, AZ; Thomas Davis, Health Education Specialist, LA LGBT Center, Los Angeles, CA; Nicole Elinoff, Director of Clinical Services, The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, Orlando, FL; Mardrequs Harris, Public Health Program Director, Tennessee Department of Health, Memphis, TN; Sasanka Jinadasa, Capacity Building and Community Resource Manager, HIPS, Washington, DC; Tyrell Manning, Regional Integration Specialist, Williams and Associates, Inc., St. Louis, MO; Pierre Jamar (PJ) Moton, Interim Clinical Program Manager, Abounding Propensity, Inc., Dallas, TX; Steven Romeo, Executive Director, The Change Project, Birmingham, AL; Milan Sherry, Advisory Board Member, Positively Trans, New Orleans, LA; and Lee Storrow, Executive Director, North Carolina AIDS Action Network, Raleigh, NC.

Bios of the new fellows, as well as a video in which they are featured, can be found here.

This diverse group, which held its first retreat at HRC’s Washington headquarters April 20-25, was chosen from a highly-competitive pool of 89 candidates, all under age 35 and playing leadership roles in community-based organizations and initiatives in two dozen states.

Even as the LGBT community continues to make extraordinary strides in equality, we are still facing staggering rates of HIV in the U.S. – driven largely by misinformation, stigma and societal barriers to information and care, including discrimination and poverty.

  • Roughly one in seven people in the U.S. do not know their HIV status;

  • Of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV, only 40% are engaged in medical care, only 37% are prescribed antiretroviral therapy, and only 30% have achieved viral suppression.

  • One in four of new HIV transmissions are occurring among young people between the ages of 13 and 24;

  • Gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color continue to bear the biggest HIV burden.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if HIV incidence rates do not change, half of all Black gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV within their lifetime, along with one quarter of Latino gay and bisexual men, and one in eleven White gay and bisexual men.

Through the HRC HIV 360° initiative, the new fellows will be deepening their skills to manage a nonprofit organization or initiative and impact the HIV & AIDS epidemic in their local communities, from leadership and strategy, to marketing, collaboration, finance, and organizational sustainability. At their first retreat, they learned from organizations including amfAR:The Foundation for AIDS Research, AIDS United, Casa Ruby, NAESM Inc., Whitman-Walker Health, and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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