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March 17, 2006

Many at black HIV reception, but few came to workshops

 

Cleveland--�You should have righteous indignation against us when we fail to stop this epidemic,� Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson told a crowd of over 125 people at the VIP reception for the Black HIV Awareness Expo at Karamu House on March 11.

The reception included a benefit performance of Karamu�s current production, Before It Hits Home, a play by Cheryl L. West from 1991 dealing with the impact of HIV on a bisexual jazz musician.

�I�m really pleased with the response we got from our community, the black politicians and the leaders in our community,� said Ray Allmond, the organizer of the expo and director of the play.

He noted, however, that it was difficult getting people into the event who needed the information being presented.

�I�m kind of disappointed we didn�t have better attendance for the workshops,� he noted.

�Any progress we make is going to be incremental,� he continued, noting that the luminaries who showed up for the reception showed that they had �made strides.�

Promoter Michelle B, who put together the reception, said that it went beyond her expectations.

�My goal was 100 [people] because of the space limitation,� she said. �Our political guests were thrilled, and Mayor Jackson actually stayed for half of the play, which delighted us no end.�

�Unfortunately, we did not get the workshop attendance we had hoped for, although Sunday�s was far better than Saturday�s,� she confided. �But then again, that was not wholly unexpected.�

�HIV and AIDS in the African American community is not exactly a hot topic--thus, the Expo,� she lamented. �However, substance-wise, the content was excellent and the group of presenters and topics scheduled were dynamic.�

The expo was put on by the Black AIDS Community Unity Project, a coalition of groups and people in Cleveland fighting the spread of HIV in the African American community.

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