February 7, 2016 is


Empowering Lives. Lifting Labels.

Nashville, TN (February 2, 2016) – Sunday, February 7th is not just a day to watch the Super Bowl. It is also National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. To commemorate this occasion, a community empowerment event, co-sponsored by Metro Human Relations Commission and Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program, will be held at Ray of Hope Community Church in East Nashville on Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 9am. This awareness event, led by renowned pastors Rev. Martin L. Espinosa and Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems, is designed to help remove the stigma of HIV and AIDS in the African American community by providing the most recent science, research and information on health services in Nashville. Free, private, on-site HIV testing will also be available by Streetworks.

Dynamic speakers living and thriving with HIV/AIDS will share their personal journeys. One of the speakers, Bruce A. Johnson, Jr, is an HIV+ member of the Ray of Hope congregation and former TSU student leader who learned about his status after organizing a testing event for the University.

Lawayne Childrey, an author, journalist, motivational speaker, and Edward R. Murrow Award recipient for exceptional journalism, will also discuss his journey growing up as young, black and gay in the South and navigating life’s challenges as a man infected with HIV. At this event he will dramatize excerpts from his award-winning book, Peeling Back the Layers. ( Complimentary lunch and a Q&A session will follow.

This event is a unique opportunity to witness how religious leaders can help empower their community and increase HIV awareness through education and engaging dialogue.

For information, please contact: Metro Human Relations Commission Barbara.GunnLartey@nashville,gov

Vanderbilt Vaccine Program: Ray of Hope Church: eMail/

Trevor Henderson