In 2021 The Interfaith Interdenominational Theological Center established The Black Religious Round Table for HIV was developed to create a network of faith-based organizations and leaders committed to decreasing HIV & AIDS infections throughout Georgia.
ITC Receives Grant to Build Capacity of Interfaith Leaders Across the State of Georgia
Project to Focus on the intersections of HIV, LGBTQ+ inclusion, Social Justice, and Faith
While great strides have been made to reduce the rates of HIV and AIDS throughout the African American community, issues of discrimination, stigma, and distrust still have alarming impacts, especially throughout the Southern United States.
The Interdenominational Theological Center received a $750,000 grant from Gilead Sciences to address the intersections of HIV, LGBTQ+ inclusion, Social Justice, and Faith through a new initiative called the Black Religious Round Table on HIV (BRRT).
The BRRT is an interfaith initiative designed to build the capacity of faith institutions to have meaningful involvement with persons living with and impacted by HIV and AIDS throughout the state of Georgia. ITC began the planning phases of the initiative in 2021 and is ready to begin the capacity-building portion of the project this year. ITC will provide capacity-building training, grant funding, and technical assistance to ten faith organizations throughout the state of Georgia to provide community projects that work at the intersections of HIV, LGBTQ+ inclusion, Social Justice, and faith.
ITC President Matthew Williams understands that it is imperative that HIV stigma and related injustices be at the forefront of the minds of faith leaders in our community. “ITC is proud to organize and host this powerful coalition with participants across the State of Georgia,” said President Williams about the BRRT initiative. “This roundtable builds a coalition around a shared belief; No one is expendable, and all of God's children deserve compassion, care, and community.”
The activities of the BRRT are led by the initiative’s Interfaith Advisory Board, which is made up of 18 dynamic leaders across various faiths, disciplines, and sexual orientations who have all committed to the intersectional approach of the initiative. “HIV stigma is alive and thriving, particularly in the LGBTQ+ communities,” said Minister Lisa Diane White, MPH, who has worked in the field of HIV and reproductive justice for over 25 years and is a member of the BRRT Interfaith Advisory Board. “Recent viral outbreaks such as Covid-19 and Monkeypox have highlighted more of the shame and blame. Spiritual communities of faith are positioned to educate their congregations about advances in HIV prevention and the impact of a pandemic and viruses on our congregations. It's not about same-sex relationships and punishments from God. There are pandemics requiring a public health prevention response, not questions about what you did to get any of these viruses”.
Applications for the BRRT capacity building grant are currently open. Grantees will receive a $10,000 grant to design and facilitate a project that includes meaningful involvement of people living with HIV, LGTBQ+ inclusion, and social justice within their faith communities.