*Founder Of Minority Aids Project Speaks Out About Sterling’s Comments on AIDS and Magic Johnson
Group Says Magic Johnson is a Role Model in the HIV/AIDS Community
LOS ANGELES – Carl Bean, founder of the Minority AIDS Project, the first community based HIV/AIDS organization established and managed by people of color in the United States issued the following statement today regarding the repeatedly disparaging comments made about NBA great Magic Johnson’s HIV-positive status by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“The Magic Johnson Foundation was one of the first donors to the Minority AIDS Project organization when we opened in 1985.
It is because of the philanthropic support of role models like Magic Johnson that 29 years later, we are still in the community of South Los Angeles addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis among African-Americans and Latinos.
While Mr. Sterling is entitled to his opinion, his comments are what feeds into the stigma and fear of people living with HIV and AIDS and keeps those possibly infected with the virus from getting tested and seeking help.
In referencing Magic Johnson, Mr. Sterling asked the question, “Is that someone we want to respect, and tell our kids about?”
Our answer is yes.
Magic Johnson took a courageous and bold step when he publicly disclosed his HIV-positive status at a time when it was unpopular to do so. He single-handedly helped to peel back several layers of shame associated with the virus and gave a voice and a face to the image of HIV and AIDS in America.
From an organization who works in the trenches of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Los Angeles County, Mr. Johnson has earned our respect and gratitude not only for giving back to the community, but for being one of the persons the newly infected could look up to as being HIV-positive and leading a long successful life. Mr. Johnson through his career and charity has proven that HIV and AIDS is not an automatic death sentence and that with the proper healthcare, that starts with getting tested, you could live a long and productive life.
Thank you Magic Johnson.”
About the Minority AIDS Project
Founded in 1985 by Carl Bean and member of the Unity Fellowship Church, the Minority AIDS Project (MAP) is the first community based HIV/AIDS organization established and managed by people of color in the United States.
MAP’s primary focus of services and outreach is the African-American and Latino communities in Central and South Central Los Angeles, who at the time of MAP’s opening, had little or no real access to preventive education and essential health care services.
Today, MAP serves the needs of more than 1,200 clients living with HIV/AIDS per month. MAP also provides prevention services to over 12,000 individuals per year in Los Angeles County.
Online at www.minorityaidsproject.org.