This week I talked with Scott Campbell, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has been identified by Funders for LGBTQ Issues as the largest funder of programs for black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals. EJAF founder Sir Elton John stated:
We are immensely proud to be recognized by Funders for LGBTQ Issues for our work focused on the needs of black LGBTQ communities. At the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we see the fight for equality for black Americans and LGBTQ people and the effort to achieve a world without AIDS as one and the same, because racism and homophobia are major drivers of the epidemic.
Black Americans represent only 13 percent of the population but account for 46 percent of people living with HIV in the United States.
I talked with Scott about addressing this alarming statistic, and about his spin on LGBT issues. When asked about his personal commitment to LGBT equality, he stated:
I think that every person should care about each other. Whether that's in our families, our communities, our societies, we have an obligation to think about others, not just ourselves. I really think that it is the basis of all civil and human rights, but I think it's also interesting to point out that in the U.S. we have a Constitution and laws, and these provide certain rights and recognition on issues that range from marriage and adoption all the way to protection from violence, and recently, with the whole discussion on health-care reform and just health care in general, the U.S. has started to define a right to health care. The U.S. Supreme Court says that people shouldn't be discriminated against because of who they love or because of their gender. So to me that's sort of my perspective on LGBTQ civil rights but civil rights in general. That's the kind of thing that I would be committed to, both personally and certainly on behalf of the foundation.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation believes that AIDS can be beaten. They act on that belief by raising funds for effective programs and policies, and also by speaking out with honesty and compassion about the realities of people's lives. Sir Elton John created EJAF over 20 years ago, first in the United States in 1992 and then in the United Kingdom in 1993. The two foundations together have raised more than $300 million over the past two decades to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment services and motivate governments to end AIDS. The U.S. foundation focuses its efforts on programs in the United States, the Americas and the Caribbean, while the UK foundation funds HIV-related work in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
For more information, please visit ejaf.org.
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