Last week Black journalists from all over America gathered in San Diego, California for the 35th National Association of Black Journalists Convention. As a student member of NABJ and former Student Representative for Region VI this was not my first NABJ convention. This year’s convention would be extra special for me. My uncle Lonnie White received the Sam Lacy Pioneer Award for Sports Journalist of the Year.
The last three years has been hard for my uncle and family due to health issues. This year my uncle spent two months in the hospital for a rare skin disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa. For us to do our jobs as journalists and to take care of our day-to-day activities we need to take care of our health. Journalists influence the way people think about multiple issues varying from health reform, politics, sports and more. Our health is important. I bet many of us don’t even remember the last time we had a doctor’s appointment.
While at NABJ I represented the Black AIDS Institute. The organization will be partnering with the National Association of Black Journalists for a year to help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in the African American community as part of the Institute’s Test 1 Million campaign. I love the slogan for the Black AIDS Institute “Our People Our Problem Our Solution.” There are so many problems and issues that face our people we need to join forces to figure out solutions.
Journalists can help spread awareness about HIV/AIDS by reporting on the epidemic. Many don’t know about HIV/AIDS because they lack information on the disease. Journalists are able to sum up information and create news stories around the illness. Knowledge about HIV/AIDS helps in the solution to end the disease.
While at the conference the Institute encouraged journalists to cover HIV testing events in their community and to also be role models by getting tested themselves. Actress Regina King came out on Thursday, July 29th and spoke to journalists at the convention during a press conference for the Black AIDS Institute. CEO Phill Wilson also spoke during the press conference about the one year partnership with NABJ and later that day during the TRUMP AIDS tournament.
The Institute hosted a TRUMP AIDS Bid Whist tournament at Redfield’s Sports Bar located at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Actors Ella Joyce from Roc and Bill Duke played in the tournament and spoke about HIV/AIDS.
While in San Diego one of my close friends said I need to get a real job and that I’m over here doing “God’s work.” I don’t know if I’m doing God’s work, but I do want to make a difference. I want to give back to my community and use my skills as a journalist to do that. I encourage everyone to join in the fight to eradicate aids in the African American community.