On Oct. 24, The Black Treatment Advocate Network Chicago ( BTAN Chicago ) hosted an afternoon party and open house aimed at broadening its network of caregivers and to engage members of the LGBTQ African American community to mingle, network and engage with one another.
Spearheading the eventwhich took place at the coach house behind Storyographers at 4740 S. Drexel Blvd.was Anthony Galloway, the director of civic engagement for Equality Illinois. The event also featured a full buffet, and DJ Superman provided music.
BTAN, in partnership with The Black AIDS Institute, is the only collaboration of its kind. The organization links HIV-positive African-Americans into care and treatment, strengthens local and national leadership, connects influential peers, and raises HIV science and treatment literacy in Black communities while advocating for policy change and research priorities.
The Chicago branch of the network, established in 2011, is part of an umbrella organization that includes offshoots in Philadelphia; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Houston; Oakland, California; Jackson, Mississippi; and Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The goal of the national and local organizations, as noted on the BTAN website, is to "create an army of trained treatment advocates in Black communities across the nation."
At the Chicago event, guests were encouraged to become board members and contribute their talents. When the question of money arose, Cynthia Tucker of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago said, "It's not about fundingit's about where your heart is."
Many health and caregiving organizations were represented at the event, including The Haymarket Center, Center on Halsted, Howard Brown Health, Austin Health Center, The Chicago Department of Health and Human Services, Brave Space Alliance, The Legal Council for Health Justice, Fellowship of Affirming Ministry, The Young Men's Christian Association, Storyographers and Men and Women in Prison Ministry.
For further information regarding upcoming events, visit the BTAN Chicago page on Facebook.