Tagged Jesse Brooks

World AIDS Day Celebrated

Allsup offers free posters to promote prevention and treatment

Today is World AIDS Day and an opportunity to recognize the many faces of AIDS, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services. Allsup is offering free World AIDS Day posters to promote prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and related disabilities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the United States. One in five of those people is unaware of their infection. An estimated 56,300 people become infected with HIV, and more than 18,000 people with AIDS die each year in the U.S.
These statistics illustrate the scope of the epidemic. However, numbers often mask the faces of the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters living with AIDS and the loved ones that are lost to the disease.
The physical toll of HIV/AIDS often makes it impossible for individuals to work. At the same time, they incur healthcare expenses that leave them with few resources. The National AIDS Housing Coalition estimates that 70 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are at risk for homelessness. Obtaining SSDI benefits has been shown to help stabilize their housing situations so they can better meet their needs and focus on wellness. Read more

Allen Temple Receives Anti-Violence Grant, Responds to killing at Church Gate

By Jesse Brooks

From left to right: Deputy Chief Jeffrey Isreal, Dr. J Alfred Smith, Jr. Dr. J Alfred Smith Sr., Dr. Babara Bowman, Rev. Daniel Buford, and Pastor Marvis Peoples.

One day after a 46 year old man was shot dead at the church gate, Allen Temple Baptist Church’s Leadership Institute Program announced Wednesday in Oakland that it has received a two-year grant to train pastors to be involved in community development and social change.

The $500,000 grant will support the efforts of the institute at Allen Temple, 8501 International Blvd. in Oakland, in partnership with the California Endowment to recruit 20 emerging community leaders, training them how to reduce the violence that is killing young Black men.

The institute’s vision is to involve pastors in community development and social change. “Violence is a health issue, and the half million dollars will allow the institute in partnership with the California Endowment to recruit 20 emerging community leaders,” according to Dr. Barbara Bowman, who will lead the program. Read more

Celebrate World AIDS Day Dec. 1

By Jesse

The Bay Area Regional African American HIV/AIDS State of Emergency Coalition is hosting a free community World AIDS Day event, Wednesday, Dec. 1 in Oakland
Commemorated each year, World AIDS Day began in 1987 dedicated to raising awareness of the pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. This year’s theme is “Universal Access and Human Rights.”
The date is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away and that there is much work still to be done. The Bay Area coalition, formerly known as the Alameda County State of Emergency Task Force, was formed in 1997, one year before the Alameda County Board of Supervisors declared a state of emergency for the African-American community because of the disproportionate rise in HIV infections. Read more

100 Black Women Focus on AIDS Relief

By Jesse Brooks

Hunt, Gloria Jenkins, President, Cathy Adams, Oakland Chapter founding president.

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., Oakland Bay area Chapter, celebrated last Saturday at the 15th Anniversary Benefit and Corporate Leadership Awards Gala.
The black tie affair was held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, highlighting the coalition’s commitment to community and inducting six new members.
The group’s mission is to provide programs and services that increase the participation of African American women in economics, civic, entrepreneurial and human service arenas in their perspective communities through education, scholarships and collaboration. Read more

Allen Temple AIDS

By Jesse Brooks

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and the AIDS Ministry team of the Allen Temple Baptist Church hosted a news conference Oct. 27 to reaffirm the ministry’s commitment to continue its work in Zimbabwe 

Joining Lee were Pastor J Alfred Smith, Jr., and AIDS team members who were detained in Zimbabwe during the September trip of the medical mission: Gloria Cox Crowell (Chair), David Greenberg (RN), Dr. Anthony Jones (MD) and Gregory Miller (RN).

 Lee affirmed the on-going work of ministry members while confirming future plans of the HIV/AIDS mission in Zimbabwe.  

Team members emphasized that they are working closely with Zimbabwean government officials to fully authorize on-going clinic operations  to ensure the provision of free anti-retroviral treatment to the over 1,000 AIDS patients receiving services at their clinics. 

The ministry has  provided free clinical services to residents of Zimbabwe for the past 10 years. The September incident, which landed the workers in jail for four days,  was the first time there had been problems with the government. Read more

Vote for Candidates Who Support AIDS/HIV Treatment

By Jesse

With AIDS/HIV infections on the rise and the California budget perpetually facing massive cuts, the state needs effective leaders who will continue the fight for AIDS/HIV education and resources.
With fewer than two weeks to go before the Nov. 2 election, choosing candidates and navigating through the measures remains a dilemma for many voters. Your individual vote can help ensure that policy makers in City Hall, Sacramento and Washington, D.C. are responsive to the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in our community.
• In regions where HIV among Black Americans is heavily concentrated – Oakland, Detroit, Newark, New York, Washington, D.C. and the Deep South –infections levels among African Americans approach those reported in the most heavily affected countries in Africa.
Representing about one in eight Americans, Blacks account for one in every two people living with HIV. Despite extraordinary improvements in HIV treatment, AIDS remains the leading cause of death among Black women between the ages of 25-34 and the second leading cause of death in Black men between the ages of 35-44. Read more

Protests Encourage Nancy Pelosi to Support AIDS Funding

By Jesse

Nancy Pelosi

On the heels of protests in San Francisco and Washington D.C., Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s has offered to support a bill that would provide $75 million in additional funding to address the current AIDS drug crisis.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), AIDS advocates and people living with HIV/AIDS took to the streets on Sept. 29 calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to take immediate action to provide relief to the nation’s struggling AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Read more

Oakland Commemorates National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

By Jesse

Ron Chavez (left) and Antonio Osuna.

Oakland will commemorate Oct 15 National Latino AIDS Awareness Day with a free musical extravaganza “You Are the Difference.”
The Sunday Oct. 17 event is hosted by Grupo Fremont VIP at Club 21, 5 p.m. to 10 pm., at  2111 Franklin St. in Oakland.  Club patrons must be 21 to enter.
The program features “The Virus,” a monologue performed by Monica Creer and Mario Saucedo, as well as R& B, jazz, rock, Samba dancers, Mariachi singers and a buffet. Learn the facts about HIV/AIDS in the Latino community from Alameda County Office of AIDS’ Executive Director Kabir Hypolite and Dr. Marcia Martin from the office of Mayor Ron Dellums. Free HIV testing will be available. Read more

Allen Temple AIDS Workers Freed

“Let go my captives”
Isaiah 45

Rev. J. Alfred Smith, Jr. (above, center) along with his congregation, held a jubilant welcoming reception for his church’s medical missionary team that were released from jail in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Allen Temple AIDS Ministry was started by the late Dr. Robert Scott (left) and former pastor, J. Alfred Smith, Sr.. The medical team members pictured above are: Greg Miller, nurse, top left; David Greenberg, nurse, top right; Dr. Anthony Jones, bottom left and Gloria Cox-Crowell, administer, bottom right. Photos by Gene Hazzard and Adam L. Turner. See Jesse Brooks’ story on page 4.

Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Jesse

Monday, Sept. 27, is the third annual National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a time to pause and mourn the hundreds of thousands of gay and bisexual men who have died during this epidemic.
It is estimated that there are 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States. African Americans, who are 12 percent of the population, account for nearly half of all people living with HIV.
African Americans also account for a disproportionate number (46 percent) of the 56,000 new HIV cases in the U.S. each year. Black gay men and Black heterosexual women comprise the second and third (respectively) largest number of new HIV infections across all racial groups each year. Read more

Allen Temple Doctor, Nurses Released From Jail

By Jesse Brooks

Nurses Gregory Miller, David Greenberg, Dr. Anthony Jones and Church AIDS Ministry administrator Gloria Cox-Crowell being released from jail in Zimbabwe on Monday.

A court in Zimbabwe set free on bail four American medics from the AIDS ministry of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland. They had been arrested last week and spent three nights in jail in the capital city of Harare for allegedly running an unlicensed clinic and operating without the correct medical licenses.
The judge on Monday ruled that six health workers, including one from New Zealand and the other from Zimbabwe, must pay $200 bail, surrender their passports, and return to court on Sept. 27, according to reports.
Officials from Oakland’s Allen Temple church say they’re hoping to get the court date moved to this week, which would enable the team to return to the U.S. by the end of the week. If convicted, they could face a fine and deportation. Read more

Chaka Khan Calls for AIDS Awareness Among Minorities

By Jesse

Chaka Khan Photo by Gene Hazzard

The Oakland Pride festival last week was about having fun, but there cannot be a Pride celebration without addressing HIV. In Alameda County about two-thirds of those living with HIV are in Oakland, and of those, about two-thirds are Black and Latino men who have sex with other men.
The music of both Pride musical headliners, Chaka Kahn and Martha Wash, are regularly played in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) clubs.
I had the chance to talk to Chaka Khan on the subject of HIV and was blown away by her humanitarian spirit.  I asked her if, given the disproportionate numbers of HIV/AIDS in the African American Community, how important was it for her and others stars to lend their support to the cause?
Her response was unequivocal: “I not only identify as an African American but a person of color. I identify with Hispanics, Native Americans, Indians – I see HIV on a global level, and it is of the utmost importance.” Read more

Thousands Attend Oakland Pride Festival

By Jesse

Thousands of partygoers came to Sunday’s Pride comeback celebration in Uptown Oakland to hear the classic sounds of Chaka Kahn and Martha Wash. Photos Gene Hazzard and graphics by Adam Turner.

The Oakland Pride Festival has resurfaced in a big way. After a six-year lull, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) festival’s comeback drew thousands of people.
“We Got The Funk: Diversity in Action”, was the theme for last Sunday’s daylong festivities, as the crowd danced and musicians played in Oakland’s Uptown District.
The festival boasted more than 60 musical acts performing on stages spanning several city blocks between Broadway and Webster Street. Headliners were diva Martha Wash and icon Chaka Khan. Oakland dignitaries included representatives of the Mayor’s office, mayoral candidates and City Council members. Read more

Allen Temple Hosts “New Food for Life” HIV/AIDS Hot Meal Program

By Jesse

Mary Turner

Almost one year to the day of the abrupt closing of Vital Life Services in Oakland, a program that served hot meals daily to over 500 HIV positive people a month, Allen Temple AIDS Ministry, in cooperation with the Cal-PEP and Alameda County Office of AIDS, has announced the opening of a Food for Life Congregate Meals program for people living with HIV/AIDS in Alameda County.
Packed with home-style favorites, the delicious and healthy menu includes meat loaf, baked and roasted chicken, herbed and mashed potatoes, a variety of salads, biscuits and cornbread, cobblers, puddings, corn, pastas, lemonade and sweet tea. Read more

September Is Sickle Cell Awareness Month at Love Center Church

By Jesse Brooks

TLC formed in 1991 and released its debut album “Ooooooohhh...On the TLC Tip” in 1992.From left to right: rapper Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. Lopes died in a car accident in 2002.

As part of Sickle Cell Awareness month, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, a vocalist in the Grammy Award-winning trio TLC and spokesperson for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA), is coming to Oakland’s Love Center Church, 10440 International Blvd., on Sunday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m.
“This will be the kick off of this program that will target highly African American populated cities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the country where the disease is prevalent, said Watkins, who established “I Wanna Be Free,” a community service initiative and national public awareness campaign that targets youth between the ages of 12-18 who are afflicted by sickle cell anemia. Read more

Oakland Pride Festival Set for Labor Day Weekend

By Jesse Brooks

After a six-year absence, the Oakland Pride festival will return to uptown Oakland on Labor Day weekend, Sunday, Sept. 5, Noon to 6 p.m.
Festivities will feature the legendary Chaka Kahn, dance diva Martha Wash and over 60 other artists on stage.
This year’s plan is to have a parade from Lake Merritt at noon that ends up near the festival grounds centered at the intersection of 22nd and Franklin streets, just a few blocks from both the Fox and Paramount theaters and close to the 19th Street BART station, according to Joe Hawkins, party promoter, who is helping head up planning for the event. Read more

Allen Temple, City of Refuge UCC Honor AIDS Advocate Dr. Scott

By Jesse

The late Dr. Robert Scott.

Here’s your chance to have a moving experience and contribute at the same by attending two events all in honor of the late internationally known Dr. Robert Scott and the awesome work he did in the community around HIV/AIDS.
Allen Temple Baptist Church on Friday, Aug. 20, is holding its 4th Annual Gospel Concert, renamaed to honor Dr. Scott, with proceeds to benefit the Allen Temple Ministry, which carries on his vision and dedication here at home and in Africa as well. Read more

Women’s Day Center Opens in Richmond

By Jesse

Edwina Perez-Santiago (right), Presiding Bishop and Founder and Belinda D. Thomas, BSN, M.Div. Vice President and co-founder.

African Americans make up 36 percent of the 99,210 people who live in Richmond, which is the 56th largest city in the state, according to the 2000 Census.
Though Richmond has a reputation for being crime plagued, this problem is centralized in the urban core, and many parts of the city have a low crime rate. Minority women living in poverty are also disproportionately affected by HIV. For these women, the struggle for daily survival may take precedence over concerns about HIV infection, whose impact may not be seen for several years. Read more

Microbicide Gel Shows Reduced Risk of HIV and Herpes in Women

By Jesse

Ambassador Eric Goosby in Uganda.

During the XVIII International AIDS Conference held in Vienna, Austria, researchers  announced a breakthrough in the fight against HIV and genital herpes with a vaginal gel that significantly reduces a woman’s risk of being infected.
The results the antiretroviral microbicide gel study were reported by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).
A microbicide is any compound or substance whose purpose is to reduce the infectivity of microbes, such as viruses or bacteria. A microbicide is a substance that could be applied topically to be used vaginally or rectally and could be produced in many forms, including gels, creams, suppositories, films, douche and enema, or as a sponge or ring that releases the active ingredient over time. Microbicides could offer both primary protection in the absence of condoms and back-up protection if a condom breaks or slips off during intercourse. For those unable or unwilling to use condoms, microbicides could be a safe and effective alternative means of reducing risk. Read more

AIDS Drug Protesters Speak Truth to Powerful Speaker

By Jesse

Adam Ouderkirk AHF’s Bay Area Regional Director of AHF and protesters in front of S.F. Federal building, where they met with Pelosi’s staff.

Scores of AIDS advocates participated in a protest and “die-in” hosted by AIDS Health Foundation (AHF) on Tuesday outside the San Francisco offices of Nancy Pelosi to decry her inaction on the current AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).  Carrying banners and handmade signs with the messages: “Speaker Pelosi, solve the AIDS drug crisis NOW!” and “Pelosi, please act as if lives depend on it – they do!”, protestors wore skeleton masks, dressed in all-black and carried a simulated coffin in memory of those who died of AIDS while on ADAP waitlists.  In May, a person died while on an ADAP waitlist in South Carolina
In 1996 the inception of anti-retroviral regimen of three drugs called a cocktail or combination therapy changed HIV/AIDS disease from a death sentence to a manageable chronic disease. The annual U.S. AIDS deaths approached 45,000 in 1993. In 1994 AIDS-related illnesses were the leading cause of death for adults 25-44 years old in U.S. In 1997 AIDS-related illnesses dropped to the fifth leading cause of death for adults 25-44 years old. Read more

Allen Temple Youth to Visit Zimbabwe and South African AIDS Orphanages

By Jesse

According to a 1998 South African newspaper report, one third of the children born in Soweto ’s main hospital were infected with HIV.  Zimbabwe has a higher number of orphans, in proportion to its population, than any other country in the world, according to UNICEF. In Zimbabwe 1 in 4 children are orphaned as a result of AIDS.
Allen Temple Baptist Church ’s Men’s Chorus and Global Missions will host a reception and silent auction at the Stoneridge Gallery in Oakland ’s Jack London Square , July 10th.  Proceeds from this event will be used to defray costs of a youth mission team traveling to Soweto and Zimbabwe . Read more

Churches Facing Up to HIV/AIDS as the Leading Killer of Black Women

By Jesse

AIDS is now the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 34.
Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic during the early 80s, the disease’s face has dramatically changed from white gay males to a full-blown pandemic in the Black community, affecting Black women and children, as well as Black men.

Ayodele Nzinga

March 7-14 was the official week of The Black Church Week of Prayer for the healing of AIDS. The concept is modeled after the successful, innovative 1989 Harlem Week of Prayer for AIDS started by The Balm of Gilead.
The Week of Prayer services are to seek the power of prayer and divine love for all those suffering from AIDS.
The services are dedicated to empowering those living with HIV/AIDS by taking the time to pray. Its goals are to remove myths and unfounded fears by educating people about what AIDS is and is not by educating them about the full impact and prevention of this disease in our communities.
I’m happily exhausted after attending several events in observance of this day. I am excited that churches are finally ready to step up to the plate around the HIV/AIDS issues.
The “Mama Twilight, Death by Love” performance at Beebe Memorial Church on March 6th, kicked off many faith-based services around the bay area. The play was written and directed by Ayodele Nzinga starring The Lower Bottom Playaz. It was sponsored by Get Screened Oakland, Mayor Dellums’ HIV/AIDS initiative.
The play tells the story a family’s struggle to stay a family when HIV/AIDS comes knocking at their door. It’s riveting and real, digging deep into the secrets and denials that are prohibiting the black community from understanding the annihilation of HIV.
Nzinga’s insight of how our ability to honestly communicate, blocked and shielded by deep-rooted secrets and pain, ultimately damages the whole family structure.
“HIV/AIDS are just symptoms of the real diagnosis, the subject can be replaced with a number of other health disparities in our community”, Nzinga says. Twilight is a must see for all.
March 10th, at Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church, Women Organized against Life-threatening Disease (WORLD), organized “HIV is Right Here at Home”, a testing empowerment event with a series of  open, interactive educational presentations.

Dr. Nanette Finley-Hancock, keynote speaker; Gloria Crowell, Chairperson. Allen Temple AIDS ministry.

Allen Temple Baptist Church’s AIDS Ministry hosted a series called “Real Talk”, two days of events including a mixer of social interaction with refreshments, music, and health information. After the social the program featured Bishop Keith Clark, of Word Assembly whose sermon asked for healing in our community from HIV/AIDS. Helen Stephen’s young adult choir and Ambassadors for Change performed. The next day the conversation continued, with a roundtable discussion, where Dr. Nannette Finley-Hancock of Paradise Cove Psychology Services Inc, in Richmond, California, delivered a powerful keynote speech setting off an intense, emotional discussion. Allen Temple has been having these discussions with clergy and ministers since the early days of the epidemic. Allen Temple plans another Real Talk next month. I finished the week off as guest speaker at Brookins AME Church in East Oakland.
The pastors and churches that participated in this week of prayer for the healing of HIV/AIDS have shown that the Black church can indeed be a Balm in Gilead, which “heals the sin sick soul.”
For questions and comments, email jessebrooksii@gmail.com or call 510-575-8245.

A Life Well Spent

By Elinor Davis

“My grandfather was born a slave,” says Unav Wade, 80 years old. She is reminiscing with fellow participants at the Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI) located at Oakland’s Eastmont Town Center. “His parents died when he was young and he grew up in a white household. A horse once kicked him and broke his leg,” but it didn’t break his spirit. Wade remembers him limping while plowing his field. “Grandpa Tom was kind and gentle and a good worker,” despite the lifelong limp.

Wade’s grandparents raised 15 children in the Tennessee mountains near Thorn Hill where Wade grew up as the oldest of five siblings. “We were poor but we ate well! We walked down the hill to school and on the way back home we’d pick wild berries, apples, pears and poke salad. We had a garden, a cow for milk and butter…a horse and pigs and chickens” on land they farmed as sharecroppers. Read more

Magic Johnson’s AIDS/HIV Testing Tours Nation and Seven ‘Historically Black Colleges’

By Jesse Brooks

AIDS and HIV testing will get exposure at some of the country’s finest Historical Black Colleges when the AIDS Health Foundation’s (AHF) named “Magic Johnson Mobile Testing Unit’s” embarks on its  six-month long, 48-state HIV testing tour.
The new state-of-the-art ‘Testing America’ mobile”, coupled with its partnership with basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr., is part of a collaborative effort to raise local and national awareness about the importance and the ease of  the testing procedures.
Johnson and AHF want to challenge attitudes about moving toward a streamlined model of HIV testing and counseling nationwide.
The tour started in Washington , Oregon, then visited Oakland before continuing across the  U.S. with its final destination of New York City in June, coinciding with National Testing day June 27th. Read more