Reflecting on Election Year 2020

COVID-19, community uprising over police brutality & systemic oppression, and a historic presidential election have left our nation divided and many of us reeling, anxious, and confused about what to expect next. For Black folx in particular, this election was a demonstration of the power and influence we carry. The strength of organizing, vote, and representation in government allowed Black voices to be heard. This week, our President Elect promised to fight against systemic oppression in this country. Sixty years ago, the Black & Southeast Asian woman who is our current vice president elect wouldn’t have even had the right to vote. Everyday, we make progress.

On a post-election day call, Leisha McKinley-Beach, a COMPASS lead consultant, reminded our team that “voting is a payment on debt we owe to our ancestors who were willing to give their lives (and some did) for the right to vote.” This year, record numbers of people voted and paid their respects to the struggle and accomplishments of our previous generations.

Now what? 

Participation in government does not end with your vote. To continue to advocate for historically marginalized communities who are still experiencing disparities in every facet of society, we have to continue to hold our elected & appointed government leaders accountable. No matter the party, understanding that systemic oppression is built into the system means that we can never truly be an equitable society without a revised system. After the election, it is our job to ensure these leaders fulfill their campaign promises.

Here are a few ways to stay civically engaged as means of holding politicians accountable for dismantling systemic oppression:

  • Mobilize around and vote in local elections
  • Be present & make your voice heard at local city council meetings on issues that disproportionately impact historically marginalized communities
  • Stay informed on statewide and nationwide issues, and engage with your local and state representatives through letters, emails, & calls on how they can best represent their constituents 
  • Educate & inform others in your community & family

Many of us who work in HIV services & prevention are doing the heavy lifting in this fight. We are experiencing the impacts of systemic oppression while doing the work to combat it for ourselves and others. The work we do daily to support those living with HIV and end the epidemic is a testament to our commitment to a better world for us all. The votes are in, but this is not over. We have not won until we are in an equitable society. 

Maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing while engaging with issues of oppression is the most important piece of this puzzle. Without us, there is no fight. How we love & support each other through our feelings of being overwhelmed, telling each other that our joy, passion, & survival in this is enough, and reminding ourselves to honor those who fought before us and those who will fight after us is integral to our success.

Nov 30, 2018

COMPASS Initiative® Funds 32 Organizations to Transform the HIV Epidemic in the South

Atlanta, Georgia (November 30, 2018) – In recognition of the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day and in support of

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Jan 31, 2019

Q&A with COMPASS Coordinating Center Directors

Our first contributors need no introduction. Well-known in their respective fields, Patrick Sullivan, PhD, DVM, Nic Carlisle, JD, and Samira

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Feb 05, 2019

More than a Statistic. More than One Story.

Column By: Tiffany Smith Tiffany lives in Atlanta, GA and works with the Emory COMPASS Coordinating Center. She previously worked

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Mar 06, 2019

The Intersection of Faith and Wellness

Column By: Tiffany Smith Tiffany lives in Atlanta, GA and works with the Emory COMPASS Coordinating Center. She previously worked

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Apr 10, 2019

Announcing the University of Houston GCSW Shared Learning Partners

The SUSTAIN Wellbeing COMPASS Coordinating Center has selected 5 organizations to be a part of their first LEARN (Leading with Education, Advocacy

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