This year’s World AIDS Day National Leadership recognition honoree is
Paul Kawata, Executive Director of the National Minority AIDS Council
Since 1989, Paul Kawata has served as Executive Director of the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), the premier organization dedicated to building leadership in communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS. He is the longest-serving executive director of any of the national HIV/AIDS organizations.
Under Paul’s guidance, NMAC has become a powerful voice in Washington, DC for over 3,000 HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide, and provides a comprehensive array of technical assistance programs and services; conferences; training; and printed and online resource materials. Recently, NMAC has deepened its mission to “lead by race,” which emphasizes normalizing discussions about race within the HIV movement, bending the curve of new HIV infections, and retaining people of color living with HIV in care.
In 1987, along with being arrested in front of the White House protesting President Reagan’s abysmal response to the AIDS crisis, Paul and a few other activists founded the National Minority AIDS Council in part in response to the American Public Health Association’s first AIDS workshop, held without any speakers of color.
Prior to joining NMAC, Paul served as founding executive director of the National AIDS Network, the first national organization dedicated to developing the capability and effectiveness of community-based leaders in the fight against AIDS, from 1985-1989. On the heels of the creation of the “Denver Principles,” a series of policies written by and for individuals living with AIDS, he was instrumental in the founding of NAPWA, the National Association of People With AIDS.
During his tenure, Paul has planned and implemented three consecutive, annual National Skills Building Conferences—the first of their kind in the world—as well as the US Conference on AIDS (2016 was the 20th anniversary of the USCA). Under his leadership, he recruited the Ad Council to work on the inaugural national HIV/AIDS public service campaign. Paul also organized and supported the National AIDS Fund, the single largest private philanthropic partner-ship in the history of the epidemic.
Join us at the National AIDS Memorial Grove on Dec. 1 as we honor this extraordinary leader.
For more information about the World AIDS Day National Observance.