Andrew Davis, a news reporter for Windy City Times, was one of the honorees at the Let's Talk, Let's Test Foundation's ( LTLTF's ) First Annual Voice of the People Awards. The event took place May 6 at the South Shore Cultural Center.
Davis received The Max Robinson Media Communications Award, named after the national ABC News anchor who died of AIDS in 1988. Other honorees included:
— Rev. Dr. Willie T. Barrow: The nationally renowned activist, known as 'The Little Warrior,' received the Keith Barrow Freedom of Spirit Award. The honor is named after her son, who succumbed to AIDS.
— Barack Obama: The United States senator was honored with The Magatho Mandela My Brother, My Friend Award, named after the AIDS-stricken son of Nelson Mandela. The Rev. Jesse Jackson accepted on Obama's behalf.
— Robin Robinson: The co-anchor of FOX Chicago News at Nine ( and the event's co-host ) received The Gregory Robinson We Are Family Award. The award is named after her own brother, who lost his battle with AIDS almost a decade ago. Robinson gave a moving speech in which she talked about her brother's battles with the disease and heroin addiction.
— Phill Wilson: The executive director of the California-based Black AIDS Institute received The Jeffrey Lee Celebration of Life Award. The honor is named after Oprah Winfrey's half-brother, who died of AIDS in 1989. Tracy Taylor of the Institute accepted on Wilson's behalf.
— Ida Byther-Smith: This local AIDS activist, who has lived with HIV for 18 years and AIDS for five, was honored with The Gigi Nicks Community Service Award. Nicks was a community activist who lost her battle with AIDS last year.
— Beverly Walker-Donley: Another prominent local AIDS advocate, Walker-Donley received The Derrick Hicks Legacy Award. Hicks was a community leader who fell to AIDS in 2002.
— Bridging The Tys To Jordan: This South Side foundation received The Tim Butler HIV/AIDS Community Organization Award, named after a local activist.
Lloyd Kelly, secretary of LTLTF's board of directors, said that the awards were given their names to reduce the shame associated with AIDS. 'There's such a stigma surrounding AIDS in the African-American community, but this disease has attacked people close to Oprah and even Mandela. If Black royalty can be touched by it, there should be no stigma.'
To learn more about LTLTF, visit www.ltltf.org, or call ( 773 ) 821-2795.