Black AIDS Institute honors Black women at annual star-studded Heroes in the Struggle event at 20th Century Fox Studios
Each year the Black AIDS Institute 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 at the Heroes in the Struggle Gala Reception and Awards Presentation. All of the 2017 inductees are women. The 2017 star-studded event will be held on Sept. 16, 2017 at the Darryl F. Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles.
The 2017 inductees are led by award winning actresses Taraji P. Henson (Empire, Hidden Figures, Person of Interest), Vanessa Williams (Soul Food, Days of Our Lives, New Jack City), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), and Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave, Desperate Housewives, Captain America, Steel Magnolias, Luke Cage). Gina Brown, CHIP Program Coordinator at the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies in New Orleans, and recently resigned member of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) is also being presented with the activist award. Celebrated R&B singer/songwriter Ledisi is slated to perform a musical tribute during the evening’s performance. Black AIDS Institute board member Jussie Smollett (Empire, Star, Alien Covenant) is the event chair and host for the evening.
Heroes in the Struggle is a photographic tribute to Black Americans and allies who have made heroic contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Since its debut in 2002, the exhibit has traveled the world—raising awareness; challenging Black Americans, key thought leaders and institutions to get involved in their communities; and generating critical conversation about HIV stigma, testing, prevention, treatment and care.
“Black men honoring Black Women is such an appropriate theme for this year’s award ceremony. Black women are the single most important engine in the survival of Black people, including with HIV/AIDS,” said Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “When our event chair, Jussie Smollett, suggested that all of the 2017 honorees be women, I literally did a happy dance. When Ledisi texted me and said she wanted to perform, I was over the moon.”
“The women we are recognizing personify the heroism and courage necessary to finally end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our communities,” said Grazell Howard, chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors. “And, of course, having someone as committed and passionate about this issue as Jussie Smollett, as both the event chair and host of the evening, is just a dream come true. This is going to be an evening you do not want to miss.”
Nearly 100 individuals have been inducted into the Heroes in the Struggle Hall of Fame over the last 16 years. The roster is literally a Who’s Who in Black America and among HIV/AIDS allies; elected officials and policy makers; artists from film, stage, TV, and music; civil rights leaders; health-care providers; advocates and activists; and people living with HIV/AIDS.
“Given the remarkable women we are honoring—and there are one or two other surprises yet to be announced, scheduling permitting—the men who will be paying tribute to them, and having the event hosted by 20th Century Fox, we suspect that everybody who’s anybody in Black Hollywood will be in the Darryl F. Zanuck theater on Sept. 16, 2017,” said Wilson.
Tickets and sponsorship packages are priced at various levels that offer something for everyone. In addition to VIP packages, there are a limited number of community seats for as little as $75. “And let us not forget, because the event is completely underwritten by major donors, every penny raised goes directly into efforts to end the epidemic, help people get in to care and stay into care, protect themselves from HIV infections, and advocate for sound HIV/AIDS policies—including defending the Affordable Care Act and other programs that help poor people receive the care and support they need and deserve,” said Wilson.
For more information about purchasing tickets, becoming a sponsor, joining the host committee, or placing an advertisement in the program book, contact Wendell Miller at Assistant@BlackAIDS.org or (213) 353-3610 ext. 105.
About the Black AIDS Institute
Founded in May 1999, the Black AIDS Institute has become the leading HIV/AIDS voice in Black America. The Institute’s mission is to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions, leaders and individuals in efforts to confront HIV. The Institute interprets public and private sector HIV policies, conducts trainings, offers technical assistance, disseminates information and provides advocacy and mobilization from a unique and unapologetic Black point of view.