Seated in South Central Los Angeles, the AMADD Institute has become one of the premiere social service organizations in the Greater Los Angeles area. Founded by Dr. Carl Highshaw, Arming Minorities Against Drugs & Disease Institute provides essential and supportive services, community support, resources and referrals aimed at impacting LGBTQ people of color. The organization ended their year with a bang with their event: PARTY WITH A PURPOSE!
What a time was had when A.M.A.D.D. brought community members together to ensure there was access to education, information, and a safe space to dialogue about how the community has been impacted by intersecting pandemics. Co-Sponsored by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network External Relations Unit, PARTY WITH A PURPOSE dropped knowledge with fireside chats on HIV prevention and treatment modalities, the latest information on COVID-19, MPOX (monkeypox), and the importance of mental health and well-being. The night provided access to at-home HIV self-testing kits, COVID testing kits, and COVID vaccinations/boosters. With the help of health professionals like Dr. Leo Moore, Leon Maultsby, and Dr. Stephaun Wallace, the community gained valuable information including various perspectives on the importance of health equity.
This was a phenomenal event that truly brought community together and showed the power of community and grassroots mobilization! In between the panel discussions, dynamic talent graced the stage. The party ended with several hits from the headliner, Dreezy, where she dropped a few tracks that showed her unique style of streetwise lyrics with an R&B flow.
There is no doubt that great things are still on the horizon for the AMAAD Institute as they continue to root their work in communities that may need it the most. As they expand their programmatic footprint, AMADD will continue to create agency in the community, facilitating access to programs and services that foster safe and supportive environments.
Kyle Gordon is an External Relations Project Manager with HVTN.