The Black AIDS Institute (BAI) hosted its 20th Annual Heroes in the Struggle Gala on Saturday February 8th, 2020 at the California African American Museum. Actor and activist, Jay Ellis welcomed the audience along with Senator Holly Mitchell.

Star power included Sophia Bush, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Kalen Allen, Jussie Smollett, Skye Marshall, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Vanessa Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph with honorees Karamo, Oscar Winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, Laith Ashley De La Cruz, Dr. Keith R. Green, Ron Henderson and Dr. Eugene McCray. Entertainment by actress/singer Tracie Thoms and the Los Angeles Trans Choir.

The theme was Black Resiliency: Celebrating Black Gay and Trans men in the Struggle. “I’m so proud of our team of heroes who made this year’s gala themed ‘We the People’ such a success” says Raniyah Copeland, BAI’s new President and CEO. The event was presented by Gilead Sciences, executive produced by BAI Founder Phill Wilson alongside producers Deondray Gossfield and Quincy LeNear Gossfield.

Each year the BAI inducts a select group of individuals and organizations that have made heroic contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Black America into the Heroes in the Struggle Hall of fame.

Heroes in the Struggle is a photographic tribute to HIV/AIDS allies; policy makers, artists from television, film, stage and music, civil rights leaders, health-care providers, advocates and activists, people living with HIV/AIDS, and allies. This year the honoree portraits were made by fine artist David Brannon. Since its debut in 2002, the exhibit has traveled the world—raising awareness; challenging African Americans and other communities, key thought leaders and institutions to get involved in their communities; and generating critical conversation about HIV stigma, testing, prevention, treatment, and care.

Photography credit: Steven Williams