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NAACP wants black preachers more involved in fighting HIV/AIDS
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In a national campaign that kicked off Sunday in Charlotte, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is asking black clergy to become more active in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

More specifically, the NAACP is asking black preachers to:

  • Announce a partnership with the NAACP’s Health Department.
  • Preach a sermon about HIV as a social justice issue.
  • Film a sermon about HIV as a social justice issue and upload it to YouTube.
  • Include in church bulletins HIV educational materials that demonstrate the impact of HIV.
  • Provide HIV screenings at churches in partnership with local health organizations, and
  • Partner with other churches and/or health organizations on outreach efforts.
To encourage faith leaders to engage in HIV advocacy, the NAACP has published a pastoral brief and manual.

NAACP officials were not available for comment Sunday, so Qcitymetro.com could not determine how many Charlotte-area churches participated in the organization’s first annual “Day of Unity.”

In a statement issued through the civil rights group, the Rev. Jerry Cannon, senior pastor at C.N. Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church, said he decided to participate because “we cannot continue to sit on the sidelines and watch the disease hurt our community.”

Mecklenburg County has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection in North Carolina, with eight to 10 new cases reported each week. Some of the highest infection rates are in the county’s African American community, especially among gay and bisexual men.

“There is an immediate need for our faith leaders to take action to address what is happening in our community,” NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock said in a statement. “Throughout our history, the NAACP and the Black Church have worked together to combat policies and practices that undermine human rights and social justice. Health equity is the fight for our generation. We encourage all pastors in Charlotte to dispel the myths about HIV and talk about it as a social justice issue.”

To encourage faith leaders to engage in HIV advocacy, the NAACP has published a pastoral brief and manual. The manual, titled “The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative, was developed after a year-long effort in which the civil rights organization interviewed more than 250 faith leaders across multiple denominations to identify best practices and challenges when addressing HIV within the black church.

Now that the program is launched, the NAACP says it will host seminars and workshops across the nation for pastors who want to get involved. For more information, visit www.theblackchurchandhiv.org.

 



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April 16, 2014
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