|Photo credit: Shon Smith
Eric “Lil Eazy-E” Wright Jr. Stands Outside of Mobil HIV/AIDS testing van after getting testing for the virus and urging others to do the same.
The Black AIDS Institute’s 2nd Annual “Test 1 Million” HIV/AIDS testing campaign drew dozens of Black celebrities and civic leaders to Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District on Friday, June 27, 2008 to issue a call-to-action for 1 million Black Americans to get screened for HIV by December 1, 2009 (World AIDS Day) on National HIV Testing Day (June 27).
There was a special appearance by Eric “Lil E” Wright Jr., son of the late rapper Eazy E, who said that if his father would have know his status earlier, he might be alive today. Among the celebrities present were actors Jimmy Jean-Louis (“Heroes”), Kimberly Elise, Darius McCrary (“Family Matters”), and recording artists Shanice Wilson and her husband Flex Alexander, Jody Watley, and Ralph Tresvant. Robert Cole, California Chairman of African-Americans for Obama also participated. The event was held at the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper, one of the sponsors of the event along with KJLH 102.3 FM, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Brotherhood Crusade, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP and was held in conjunction with similar across the country.
“It’s important that African-Americans know their status,” commented Phill Wison, CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “The Institute’s celebrity partners have demonstrated their personal commitments to ending the AIDS epidemic in Black America by stepping to the plate and getting tested in front of the world. At the end of the day, this is an epidemic that is out of control, and we need a response that recognizes it is an epidemic out of control.”
In addition to participating in the “Test 1 Million” press conference, celebrities and civic leaders recorded public service announcements that will air on Black radio and television networks around the country.
AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women aged 25-34 years, and it is estimated that up to 46% of Black gay men may already be HIV-positive, and according to the CDC, there are over 260,000 people in the U.S. infected with HIV who don’t know they are infected.
For more information, or to find a location to get tested for HIV/AIDS, please log onto www.BlackAIDS.org.