Against a royal blue background, a black banner with white text reads, "February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day." Below the banner, white test reads, "NASTAD recognizes racism and the impact of structure oppression on the HIV epidemic as a public health crisis." A photograph to the right of the blue background shows a person with long brown hair, glasses, caramel colored skin and a green and white stripped shirt holding a sign that reads, "RACISM is a PANDEMIC."

NASTAD’s Anti-Racism Workgroup (ARW) Updates and Priorities

This National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is imperative that we recognize structural racism that has contributed to the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on Black communities. NASTAD recognizes racism and the impact of structural oppression on HIV, viral hepatitis, and other co-occurring epidemics as a public health crisis. One of NASTAD’s Strategic Plan priorities is to advance health equity, racial equity, and stigma elimination, focusing on disparately impacted communities. In response to a national push to operationalize anti-racism in public health, NASTAD formed an internal Anti-Racism Workgroup (ARW) and an Anti-Racism Public Health (ARPH) Board Subcommittee to reimagine NASTAD’s internal operations, programmatic work, and Board and membership composition and practices through an anti-racist and equitable lens. NASTAD has also engaged Health Justice (HJ) to help us in this work. NASTAD staff, Board members, and HJ will work to:

  • Develop and implement anti-racism trainings for the NASTAD staff and board,
  • Create team-level commitments to racial justice equity and operationalization into our work and work plans, and
  • Flatten NASTAD’s organizational structure to create regular opportunities for cross-position collaboration and work.

Internal Operations

Within NASTAD’s internal operations, we are prioritizing policies that promote inclusivity and diversity within the hiring process, and the overall structure and function of the organization. NASTAD is committed to creating opportunities for BIPOC and LGTQIA+ people , centering trauma-informed approaches in our organizational and supervisory practices, and challenging biases and behaviors that perpetuate white supremacy culture in the workplace.

Programmatic Work

Anti-racism work within NASTAD’s program area aims to review work plans and assess opportunities for leading with health equity; work towards building our internal capacity for resource development that is not English-only, increase accessibility, participate in and lead programs and events designed to highlight strategies that address the impact of HIV and hepatitis on communities of color, and celebrate community-led efforts and resources designed to solve these critical issues.

NASTAD has also prioritized presentations and planning support for events and conferences that focus on communities of color including immigrant communities; routinely releases policy statements, public comments, and other policy-related work that directly address inequities and call out blatant and covert discrimination; and challenges how policies as written affect oppressed communities and exacerbate health inequities.

NASTAD’s Board of Directors and Membership

To address racism across NASTAD’s ecosystem, the ARW developed a Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Roadmap for the Board to diversify the board and membership. The subcommittee identified three goals to accomplish over the next two years:

  1. Develop a succession planning pipeline (e.g., expanding eligibility, establishing term limits, etc.) to diversify NASTAD’s board and health department leadership
  2. Work with the By-Laws and Governance committees to implement the DEI Roadmap developed by NASTAD’s ARW
  3. Work with HJ to inform anti-racism training for the board and staff

NASTAD plans to keep itself accountable by collaborating with HJ, the ARW, and ARPH to continue to work with the staff and Board, provide ongoing updates, and implement the goals of the anti-racism workgroup.