We Are Orlando

On behalf of NAESM, Inc.’s Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and supporters, we want to express our most sincere and deepest sympathies over the tragic loss of life suffered and to the countless others who have been affected by the senseless act of violence that took place at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Often times we struggle with explaining and understanding why this level of hate exists, not only in America but across the world as well. As we struggle to put into context why actions like these happen I am encouraged by the solidarity shown amongst all gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, queer, same gender loving individuals, and allies regardless of race.

To merely say our thoughts are with our neighbors in the South, is an understatement as it doesn’t begin to perpetuate the heartache, sadness and anger that we share with them. Too frequently in history individuals are targeted for their race, sexual orientation, or sexual identity. Now is the time more than ever for us not only to continue the fight for equality for all LGBTQ+ identified persons but to push further to ensure we achieve the highest level of equity as well.

No act of hate will detour us from coming together as a community, strong and persevering! Pride and unity are more important now than ever to silence the voices of hate we have seen over the past couple of days. As we stand tall for those across the country that are hurting more now than ever I encourage everyone to put their differences aside to be the village for the community. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in moments of challenge and controversy.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Please join us in standing tall. ‪#‎WEAREPULSE‬ ‪#‎WEAREORLANDO‬ ‪#‎WEARENAESM‬

Sincerely,
Darwin Thompson
Executive Director
NAESM, Inc.

The first AIDS Report

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the first AIDS report in the United States. While as a nation we have overcome so much and made many strides during this time. However, as we see continue to see the emergence of such damaging statistics like 1 in 2 Black Gay men will contract HIV in their lifetime now is not the time to be discouraged in this fight or throw in the towel. Today we celebrate the resilience of all the individuals regardless of their sexuality who have been infected or affected by this virus and chose to not let this epidemic define who they were. Today we celebrate the activists who have work so tirelessly to educate the community about this virus when they didn’t completely understand the damaging effects this virus would have on communities especially communities of color. As the Executive Director of NAESM, Inc. I have the upmost faith that we currently have the right people in place, the right leadership, and the right tools to ensure this epidemic doesn’t last another 35 years. So I challenge you today to not stigmatize a person who has contracted this virus but to ask yourself am I doing enough to make sure no one else has to ever worry about contracting this virus. Today I stand in solidarity with all the long term survivors and pledging to each of you I will do my part to help end this epidemic!

Darwin Thompson
Executive Director
NAESM, Inc.