FAMU organizations join AIDS fight

The Minority Alliance for Advocating Community Awareness, Inc. is continuing to fight HIV/AIDS going into the new year.

Six groups, including MAACA, Inc., Florida A&M University’s Student Health Services, and the Florida Department of Health, are teaming up to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among black women in the capital city area.

They have created The Capital City S.O.S.: Sistas Organizing to Survive – Black Women and HIV/AIDS Conference, which is being held in observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Sylvia Hubbard, the executive director of MAACA, Inc., said the conference was designed to enlighten people.

“Black women have become the face of HIV/AIDS in Florida,” Hubbard said. “This conference will educate, empower and motivate women in the Capital Region to know their HIV status and take a pledge to teach others.”

Hubbard added that the organization is active year round.

“Every year we do a major fund raiser for National Black HIV/AIDS Day,” she said.

Tallahassee’s conference is a one-day replica of the three-day statewide conference that was held in Orlando in June 2008, said Thometta Cozart, public relations manager for the Florida Department of Health.

She also said that more than 600 women attended the Orlando conference and cities throughout Florida have been motivated to host their own citywide conferences.

“One south Florida city has already held their conference,” Cozart said.

And Jacksonville will host a conference in March 2009.

MAACA, Inc. said it hopes to have at least 250 people in attendance at the Capital City S.O.S. Conference.

Hubbard said expectations are high.

“We hope to raise at least $25,000,” she said.

A letter calling for support, sponsorship and donations was sent to community leaders and businesses throughout Leon county. Sponsorship levels vary from “Event Vendor,” requiring a $100 donation, to “Event Sponsor,” requiring a $5,000 donation. Sponsors are encouraged to contribute with the opportunity to gain publicity for their own businesses. An “Event Sponsor’s” $5,000 donation will secure them an exhibit space, their logo, or name on the conference’s printed materials, and on MAACA, Inc.’s Web site, and much more.

The conference will take place Feb. 7, 2009 at the Economic & Community Development Lincoln Center. The center is located at 438 w. Brevard St. Reservations to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn, located at 1330 S. Blair Stone Road, can be made now through Jan. 16, 2009. Room reservations are $105 and include a one-night stay at the hotel, and a hot breakfast.

For more information on the Capital City S.O.S. Conference and how to donate or volunteer, please visit www.maaction.org, or contact Sylvia Hubbard at 942-6222.