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Major Faith-Based Group Joins March on Washington
The Balm in Gilead, Inc., a non-governmental organization (NGO) working to build the capacity of faith communities to effectively address HIV throughout the United States, Africa and the Caribbean has signed on in support of the “KEEP THE PROMISE” Declaration and March. Celebrating over 23 years of service, The Balm In Gilead develops educational and training programs specifically designed to meet the unique needs of congregations that strive to become community centers for health education and disease prevention. The Balm In Gilead is known for its insightful understanding of religious cultures and values and its extraordinary ability to build strong, trusted partnerships with faith communities in areas of disease prevention and health promotion. The Balm In Gilead has provided capacity development and technical support to more than 25,000 faith institutions for the implementation of health education and service delivery programs in HIV/AIDS within the United States.
"The importance of faith-based organizations to the fight against HIV cannot be overstated," said Omonigho Ufomata, Director of Global Advocacy and Policy. "Groups like The Balm In Gilead and other faith based organizations are the compassionate voice for those suffering from HIV. In addition, they provide information and knowledge about the disease while respecting the values communities of faith hold. We are encouraged by their support because we know that it will take a collaborative effort from all of us to eradicate HIV in our lifetimes."
It is very important that faith communities are an integral component of the “KEEP THE PROMISE” Declaration and March. Faith communities, worldwide, are playing a tremendous role in HIV prevention, treatment and testing. History clearly reflects the strong advocacy and impact faith communities have had on every social justice movement over the past centuries. The AIDS epidemic is no different. The “Keep the Promise” March seeks to refocus public attention on the lack of access to HIV testing, treatment and prevention; wavering political commitment to funding the global AIDS response and excessive AIDS drug pricing by pharmaceutical companies. “The extreme disproportionate rates of HIV among people throughout the African Diaspora including African Americans living in Washington, DC and across the United States, mandates the inclusion of the diverse leadership of faith communities in this March. Faith leaders in the US have marched on Washington countless times for social justice. HIV and AIDS is a critical social justice issue that is gripping our world today.
"The importance of faith-based organizations to the fight against HIV cannot be overstated."
We, The Balm In Gilead, believe that faith leaders must, once again, be at the forefront of this March on Washington with lifted hands and voices” states, Pernessa Seele, Founder/CEO, of The Balm In Gilead.
The Balm In Gilead is also the lead national agency for the Taking Action for Health, Dignity and Justice: The Interfaith Pre-Conference on HIV taking place prior to the XIX International AIDS Conference at Howard University - July 19 -July 21. 2012. Other national sponsors of The Interfaith Pre-Conference on HIV are The American Jewish World Service, The Catholic Medical Mission Board and The United Church of Christ. For more information on The Balm In Gilead, visit: www.balmingilead.org.