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!