On Sunday, July 14, nearly 100 faith leaders from around the country will join together in the second annual Day of Unity, an event designed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to inspire pastors to preach from the pulpit about HIV/AIDS as a social justice issue.

Pastor Hames of Beebe Memorial Cathedral (3900 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland) will be recognized as one of eight national Day of Unity Champions, and will represent the NAACP and its initiative, The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative, as a leader in the movement to stop the social injustices that have led to the unequal impact of HIV on Black America.

The eight Day of Unity Champions have committed to integrating HIV messaging into their church activities. On Sunday, July 14th, the Day of Unity Champions will unite across the country and preach about HIV as a social justice issue. The Champions will also serve as leaders to recruit others in the faith community to unify and join the fight to end the HIV epidemic.

When compared to other well-known social justice issues, HIV rates are on par with other systemic disparities. 1 in 15 Black men are incarcerated and similarly 1 in 16 Black men are at risk of contracting HIV during their lifetimes. If Black America was its own country, it would rank 16th in the world for HIV rates.

Rev. Hames is available to speak about his commitment to educating the congregation about the impact of HIV on the Black community and why he joined the NAACP in the fight for health equity.

Background on The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative

The NAACP has partnered with the Black Church to launch a movement to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in the Black community through the initiative, The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative.

Through 2014, the partnership is poised to: reframe HIV as a social justice issue; train senior faith leaders across the country to incorporate HIV messages into sermons and church activities; enlist the executive leadership of the mainline denominations in the Black Church; and integrate the initiative’s manual into curricula at theological seminaries. If you would like to join the NAACP in the fight to save lives from HIV, please visit their website, www.theblackchurchandhiv.org.

About the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. Read more about the NAACP’s work and its five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

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