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Champions of Change

A Celebration of Black Women Changemakers in HIV

Throughout history, Black women have been at the forefront of social movements and driving progress—including helping to end the HIV epidemic—while often being overlooked. It’s time we honor and recognize them for their exceptional leadership.

In Champions of Change: A Celebration of Black Women Changemakers in HIV, we’re proud to honor ten Black women leaders in HIV who have been leading the way forward for decades. From community leaders to health researchers to HIV pioneers, the legacy and influence of these inspirational women can be felt every day. We honor these trailblazers, how they've paved the way for change in their communities and beyond, and how they're helping uplift the next generation of Black women leaders in HIV.

Celebrating Black Women in HIV

Meet the Honorees

Danielle Campbell

Danielle, a prominent health researcher, represents and creates space for women of color at the forefront of HIV research. She is passionately working to champion social justice, strongly advocates for Black women to be included in HIV research, and uses research to strive for health equity.

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Tori Cooper

Tori proudly represents the voice and intersecting needs of the Black, transgender, and HIV communities. Her advocacy is rooted in educating her communities about HIV prevention and care while still meeting people where they are. When faced with challenges, she believes nothing is impossible.

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Raniyah Copeland

As the former CEO of Black AIDS Institute and cofounder of Equity & Impact Solutions, Raniyah's work focuses on equity advancement, community engagement, and culturally relevant programming—all pathways to help end HIV. She is committed to seeing that HIV does not feel inevitable or like a death sentence for Black people.

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Dázon Dixon Diallo

Dázon was talking about HIV and sexual health with Black women before there was any research on how HIV could impact them, or resources to help. For over three decades, Dázon has created numerous programs and initiatives centered on giving women and women of color agency in the greater HIV community. As one of the first advocates for women's sexual and reproductive health in HIV, Dázon and her organization SisterLove, Inc.,* are the blueprint for so many others advocating for women in HIV.

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June Gipson

June is determined to drive change in the South, and as the CEO of My Brother’s Keeper, Inc.,* she's doing just that. She creates and refines curricula for other HIV/AIDS organizations, helping them to lead with best practices, research, and knowledge, and to bring care and resources into communities that need it the most.

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Leisha McKinley Beach

Leisha, a national HIV/AIDS consultant, has worked with multiple health departments in the South and helps build programs and systems that help communities get the care they need and deserve. She gains strength from her faith and leads with love to help change the data and create better health outcomes for Black people.

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Marlene McNeese

As a leading voice on HIV policy and implementation, Marlene is helping to redefine public health and community-based support systems that address HIV prevention. She equips communities with accessible information and programming and advocates for the hardest hit communities to have a seat at the table.

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Kayla Quimbley

Kayla is a leading voice for young people living with HIV and advocates for their inclusion in the creation of HIV policies. She utilizes her lived experience to reframe HIV narratives, find and create safe spaces, and helps improve access to comprehensive sexual education.

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Dafina Ward

Dafina is an attorney, nonprofit strategist, and executive director of the Southern AIDS Coalition* and works at the intersection of HIV and other health and justice issues in the South. She believes that ending the HIV epidemic in the South is crucial to helping end the HIV epidemic for all and builds the capacity of Black- and Brown-led organizations to help change the course of HIV in the South.

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Linda H. Scruggs

Linda, a long-term survivor of HIV, focuses on the diverse experiences and backgrounds of women living with HIV. After overcoming trauma, she fought against disempowerment, advocating for pregnant moms and children living with HIV. She develops training programs covering survival skills, literacy, and advocacy to help empower these women to use their experiences to help others in need.

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*These organizations are Gilead grant recipients.

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