June 10, 2020

Black Lives Matter.

George Floyd. Tony McDade. Breonna Taylor. Nina Pop. Sean Reed. Ahmaud Arbery. These are just a few of the names of Black Americans whose lives and legacies have been ended by the many iterations of white supremacy this year. For generations, even more Black Americans have endured violence, harassment and so many other forms of police brutality and discrimination. 

The entire Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) community is shaken, angered, and in pain over the endless pattern of murders of Black people in our country. While many of the partner organizations who support GTZ-IL have made their own statements calling for justice, we felt it necessary to use our collective voice and platform to join in solidarity with the communities we serve. 

To Black members of our community: We see you. We love you. We are here for you. We know you are in deep anguish. Please reach out to us if you need support and resources in this difficult time.

To white members of our community: It’s time for real, personal growth to take place from the inside out. It’s time to challenge and undo racism and white supremacy on both personal and systemic levels, where it is proven time and time again that white lives are more valuable than Black ones in policing, health care, work forces, and society at large. White folks must unite alongside their Black friends, loved ones, colleagues and neighbors — not just in words or social media posts or statements like this, but in real, effective and uncomfortable action and change. Let us know how you’re taking action for racial justice now and in an ongoing way.

GTZ-IL is committed to changing the systems that exclude and oppress Black people in the state. We’re more committed than ever to building health care systems to better serve Black folks, who bear the greatest burden when it comes to so many health conditions, including HIV and AIDS. We can only succeed in ending the HIV epidemic in Illinois and guarantee that all Illinoisans living with HIV can thrive if we end white supremacy, which is the blood-stained bedrock on which too many systems are built.

Today, we are reminded to live into the values laid out in our plan. We encourage you to explore the ways GTZ-IL had built a path toward racial justice — and more importantly, we ask that you partner with us in this work and help us do it better. 

The HIV/AIDS movement learned from the civil rights movement to protest, take to the streets, and disrupt day to day until we see actions that demonstrate a commitment towards justice. Today, GTZ-IL aligns with protesters who are demanding that, finally, the horrific legacy of oppression against Black Americans that stretches back to 1619 ends, once and for all. 

In solidarity,
AIDS Foundation Chicago, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and other Getting to Zero Illinois Coalition Members
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