June 7th: Phill Wilson

One week down in Pride month and tonight we’re talking about AIDs activist Phill Wilson.

Phill Wilson was born on April 22nd, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois (Chicago respreseeent). Not much is knows about Phil’s early life until the early 1980s.

The early 80s was when Phill and his partner, Chris Brownlie, were diagnosed with HIV. If there is one thing I think of with the 80s- it’s AIDS. The AIDS pandemic ravished America and especially the gay community. The spotlight was usually put on the white, gay community when it came to AIDS but Phill felt like it hit the black gay community harder. He didn’t let the diagnosis drag him down. He decided to attend Illinois Wesleyan University to get a BA in theater and Spanish before moving out to LA. While living out in LA, he got involved with activism even further. Phil worked for the National Association of Black and White Men Together. Then in 1983 he started withing as the Director of Policy and Planning for the AIDS Project in LA. In 1989, Phill’s partner Chris died of the disease but Phill didn’t give up fighting there.

From 1990 to 1995 he worked as the co-chair of the Los Angeles HIV Heath Commission. He then went and worked as a member of the HRSA AIDS Advisory Committee until 1997 when he took a break from working as his illness got worse. 

In 1999, Phil came back stronger than ever. He founded the Black AIDS Institute to help black people who had been diagnosed with the disease. In 2010, Obama appointed Phil to his Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. He also worked as a delegate for the World AIDS Summit. He pushed for the CDC to help provide more funding to African American groups so they could teach their communities about the dangers and actualities of HIV/AIDS.

Phill Wilson, now 64, is not as active as he once was but his work was extremely important. The black community is hit harder by diseases such as this and they should get adequate funding to help stop the spread. Phill helped bring a voice to those people. He has numerous accolades but the one thing he wants to be remembered about him is his unwillingness to surrender. That spirit and fight will always be remembered.

Thank you, Phill.

Information from Wikipedia

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