FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Nic Carlisle (email@example.com)
Southern AIDS Coalition Appoints Venita Ray as New Deputy Director
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. April 13, 2018 — The Southern AIDS Coalition (SAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Venita Ray as its new Deputy Director.
Ray received her Bachelor of Applied Arts in Public Administration from San Diego State University and her Juris Doctor from American University. Recently she has served as the Public Policy Manager for Legacy Community Health, a federally qualified health center in Houston, Texas, where she monitored HIV-related healthy policy and managed an advocacy training program for people living with HIV. Notably, Ray led a citywide effort to develop a plan to end the HIV epidemic in Houston. She is a founding member of Texans Living with HIV, a statewide network for people living with HIV (PLHIV). Ray also serves on the board of the Positive Women’s Network (PWN-USA) and regularly volunteers with the SERO Project and Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative.
“I am ecstatic to have Venita join us as Deputy Director,” said SAC Executive Director Nic Carlisle upon announcing the appointment. “Venita brings a breadth of experience that will be absolutely invaluable to SAC and our work to end the HIV epidemic in the South. This experience, combined with her passion for social justice, equity, and advocacy, make her the perfect leader for our organization.”
Ray, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2003, is deeply committed to issues such as HIV decriminalization, meaningful involvement of PLHIV, and achieving racial justice in the domestic HIV movement.
“I am so excited to join the SAC team as its first ever Deputy Director,” said Ray. “It is unacceptable to me that the South is the center of the epidemic. As a woman living with HIV, I am interested in challenging the social and structural drivers that fuel the epidemic and partnering with communities most impacted and vulnerable to HIV, including Black women, Black and Latino gay and bisexual men, and women of trans experience.”
In her role as Deputy Director, Ray will be responsible for managing SAC’s participation in the Gilead COMPASS (COMmitment to Partnership in Addressing HIV/AIDS in Southern States) Initiative™. SAC was recently selected as one of three coordinating centers to strategically provide funding across the region. As a coordinating center, the organization will develop and support education and advocacy efforts to address HIV-related stigma, discrimination, and health inequities across the South.