NBLCA’s signature legislative proposal is the National Black Clergy for the Elimination of HIV/AIDS Act of 2009, a comprehensive proposal for fighting AIDS in the Black community. This plan resulted from a gathering in 2007 organized by NBLCA that brought together leaders from all over the country including prominent members of the clergy such as Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, senior pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York, and Bishop T.D, Jakes, Senior Pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, as well as representatives of the National Medical Association, the National Caucus of Black State Legislators, the Congressional Black Caucus Health Brain Trust, the National Conference of Black Mayors, the World Conference of Mayors.
The proposal was introduced as legislation in 2009 as H.R. 1964 by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and in 2010 as S. 3011 by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Among other measures, the legislation:
• Calls for voluntary, routine HIV testing as part of all health exams, including in emergency rooms, clinics and private physician offices.
• Calls upon the president to declare HIV/AIDS an epidemic in the black community;
• Directs the federal department of Health and Human Services to make grants to public health agencies and faith-based organizations to conduct outreach programs for HIV/AIDS testing and prevention;
• Directs the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to expand and intensify educational activities targeting black women, youth and men having sex with men;
• Mandates a national media outreach program to urge testing for HIV and AIDS; and
• Requires a study of biological and behavioral factors that lead to higher rates of HIV and AIDS among Black Americans.
(For the full text of the bill, click here.)
NBLCA and other organizations are actively seeking cosponsors for the legislation. Cosponsors are needed to get a hearing and to bring the bill to the floor of the House and Senate.
Current cosponsors are listed below. If your Member of Congress or Senator is not listed, please contact him or her and urge support for this crucial legislation. (Click on the appropriate link to find your Representative in Congress or your Senator.)
Sanford Bishop [D-GA] Robert Brady [D-PA] Corrine Brown [D-FL]
George Butterfield [D-NC] Anh Cao [R-LA] André Carson [D-IN]
Kathy Castor [D-FL] Donna Christensen [D-VI] Yvette Clarke [D-NY]
William Clay [D-MO] Emanuel Cleaver [D-MO] Steve Cohen [D-TN]
John Conyers [D-MI] Elijah Cummings [D-MD] Artur Davis [D-AL]
Danny Davis [D-IL] Donna Edwards [D-MD] Keith Ellison [D-MN]
Marcia Fudge [D-OH] Al Green [D-TX] Alcee Hastings [D-FL]
Maurice Hinchey [D-NY] Jesse Jackson [D-IL] Sheila Jackson-Lee [D-TX]
Eddie Johnson [D-TX] Henry Johnson [D-GA] Carolyn Kilpatrick [D-MI]
Peter King [R-NY] Barbara Lee [D-CA] John Lewis [D-GA]
Carolyn Maloney [D-NY] Kendrick Meek [D-FL] Gregory Meeks [D-NY]
Gwen Moore [D-WI] Eleanor Norton [D-DC] Donald Payne [D-NJ]
Laura Richardson [D-CA] Bobby Rush [D-IL] David Scott [D-GA]
José Serrano [D-NY] Louise Slaughter [D-NY] Edolphus Towns [D-NY]
Maxine Waters [D-CA] Diane Watson [D-CA] Melvin Watt [D-NC]