The Black AIDS Institute (BAI) has named Raniyah Copeland as its next president and chief executive officer. Copeland will assume the role on January 1. Copeland began working at BAI in April of 2008 as the training and capacity building coordinator and currently serves as the director of programs. The announcement was made during the organization’s star-studded Heroes In The Struggle gala at the California African American Museum (CAAM) this past Saturday.
Copeland, says, “We are bringing a collective of the nation’s brightest leaders who are modeling the way to end HIV in Black America through the provision of outstanding, Black-centric clinical care, and best practices shared across the country.”
As she reflects on more than 10 years with the organization she says, “I have grown from planning the details of one of our largest programs to leading the strategic direction of all of BAI’s programming, including our newest entry into providing HIV direct services.” She added, “In my tenure with the institute I have had the pleasure of developing seasoned and meaningful relationships with significant individuals and institutions from federal leaders, to community organizers, and key funders. I have led our growth to currently having the largest staffed and skilled programs team we have had in 10 years.”
Copeland, who is 34, succeeds Phill Wilson who is not only the current president and chief executive officer, but the organization’s founder. He announced his decision to retire at the end of this year to the board of directors in 2015. The board has been intentional about the search process and strategic planning. They conducted a 10-month national search and Copeland was selected from more than 20 candidates.
Prior to joining the staff of BAI, Copeland worked as a crisis cage manager at Beyond Shelter, a reproductive health assistant for Planned Parenthood Pasadena, and the executive director of the Black Recruitment and Retention Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in African American studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Public Health from Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.
Copeland is married to Bryce Copeland, a business manager for Sony Pictures Entertainment. They are the parents of Ahmad, 4, and Aydin, 1. They reside in the Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles.
She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an AmeriCorp Alumni, and a co-founder of the African Black Coalition. “As a Black cis-woman and mother, my intersectionality informs how I center people living with HIV, queer people, Black trans women, and folks in the Black communities who are marginalized because of who they are,” says Copeland.