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Black Aids Institute Presents ‘Blacker the Plan: Our People, Our Problem, Our Solution’ video series
By Betti Halsell, Contributing Writer
Published July 2, 2020

Exploring Community Solution Found Within 

Courtesy photo

There are intersecting pandemics happening within the Black community, a historic plague of racial disparities has now collided with dangers stemming from COVID-19. Black Americans are seeing a new level of suffering and exasperation. Underlining health conditions are high among African American people, due to the current system lead by multiple levels of government failing to provide proper lines of health care and resources. Aids are among one the highest preexisting conditions amid the Black community, coronavirus has become an additive of poison for those who are already under immense pressure to survive.

The Blacker the Plan: Our People, Our Problem, Our Solution’ video series looks to equip Black Americans with vital knowledge of tools to defend themselves against systemic racism and higher rates of disease in Black communities highlighted by COVID-19. Serious discussions behind the transformation of the systems we live in the embodiment of The Blacker the Plan. “it’s about how we as Black people come together to take care of each other in ways that only we as Black people can.” Stated BAI Leadership Raniyah Copeland.

Health and Media Experts joined The Black Aids Institute (BAI) to discuss the current racial imbalances, Copeland hosted “The Blacker the Plan: Our People. Our Problem. Our solution.,” a 45-minute webinar tackling what has infected the Black community, long before the threat of a global virus. Supported by Gilead Sciences, these “online experiences” create a synergy of young and old; systemic racism has aged alongside the creation of the United States, but the power of a new foe within COVID-19 has created an opening for a blunt conversation, about the reality of this nation that keeps certain people beneath the knees of others, suffocating any hope for equality.

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Copeland has played a key role in the growth of the Black Aids Institute, she has served as the group’s Training and Capacity Building Coordinator, Manager, and Director of Programs before gaining top leadership in 2019.  In her position as Director of Programs, Copeland served as the Chief HIV prevention and treatment correspondent.

Raniyah shared her core beliefs and how they align with her journey, “I was raised with the value that true freedom for Black people means a freedom to a choose our own destiny, to have an equal chance to succeed, freedom from discrimination and exclusion and freedom to live within our fully dignity as humans.  HIV is a disease that magnifies the inequities that we as Black people experience. HIV is a disease that impacts the most disenfranchised: Black LGBTQ people, Black people living in poverty, Black people who don’t have housing, Black people who experience substance addition.”

She continued to explain how so many from the black community are not able to progress because of the color of their skin. Copeland has been with BAI for over 13 years because she believes in the day HIV will no longer be a threat in Black America.

Raniyah Copeland (Courtesy Photo)

“There is a blueprint for ending all health inequities experienced by Black people. By centering Black communities and leaders most impacted we have a roadmap for true empowerment and freedom. My hope is that my contribution to the future and my gratitude to my ancestors is expressed through ensuring that all Black people are able to live long healthy lives that allow us to bask in our gifts to the world. This is my guiding light and what has driven my work at BAI.”

In that degree, she managed the community mobilization, treatment, and prevention of AIDS. Copeland directly engaged with the community with public enrichment programs such as the Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN), the African American HIV University (AAHU) and the Greater Than AIDS Campaign. Through her work, Raniyah radiates hope and a sense of victory over a virus that associated with defeat. She has been recognized for her efforts and has earned the title of being one of The Root 100 most influential African Americans in 2019.

Speaking to the hearts of a multi-generational Black audience, Copeland was joined by award winning writing correspondent Nikole Hannah-Jones in addition to author and activist George M. Johnson. The panelist spoke unfiltered truths about ending oppression and creating opportunity from the gash of a global pandemic. The mission of the conversation was simple, harness the impetus for  Black Americans evolve as a community during these times, as well as address the mental strain of the on-going fight for a level playing field in a nation that was built on our backs.

The Blacker the Plan: Our People. Our Problem. Our Solution is a three-part virtual speaker series hosted by the Black Aids Institute. The webinar is looking to be a beacon of enlightenment, as the community demands clear balances in resource. It will be featuring thoughts from community advocates and health experts who can articulate the energy around the imbalanced weight placed upon people of color in multiple sectors of society.

Categories: COVID-19 | Health
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