United We Rise has engaged Black communities to answer the question,

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“What would the response to HIV look like if it was led by black people?”

We used the Delphi Survey Method to harness the knowledge, strengths and power of Black communities in defining what needs to happen in HIV service delivery, community engagement, public policy, research, and other areas.

What is the Delphi Survey Method? This is a process in which every voice is heard and given equal weight. One of the key elements of the Delphi technique is that in consecutive rounds, participants have the benefit of seeing the input of all the other participants in the process, and building on that information to create a more comprehensive understanding of the topic.

We received responses from more than 350 Black people throughout the U.S. Plus, we joined an event in Atlanta, GA that yielded 45 responses from Black transgender and gender non-conforming community members. The Planning Committee analyzed results.

Our community engagement process identified 5 key areas that set the stage for what values and practices need to be in place and how Black communities work together, as well as in partnership with others to lead collective action.

Black leadership and organizations

We work to uphold Black principled leadership within our organizations and communities that embodies and affirms Black values and liberatory practices. Our work demands transparency and holding Black organizations and leadership accountable.

What are the values and principles that should underlie the practice of leadership in the HIV movement and in our community organizations, including organizations indigenous to Black communities?

Black Community Engagement

We value Black spaces for gathering and strategizing. The freedom to choose is central to inclusive practices for engagement. Our work mobilizes diverse Black communities to meaningfully engage in HIV and broader justice work connected to ending the impact of HIV on Black communities.

What strategies are needed to be better organize and engage Black communities in transformational change?

Policy

We work to democratize power and amplify policy approaches that destigmatize and decriminalize Black bodies. Centering the knowledge, experiences and voices of the people closest to the problems leads to flexible and expansive policymaking that produces intersectional solutions.

What are the federal, state, and local policy changes that, if enacted, would have a transformative impact on the Black health and liberation?

Intersectionality

We value our interconnectedness and honor our differences. Naming and addressing the realities of how HIV impacts various members of Black communities differently is important. At the same time, acknowledging and voicing the harms we cause one another can move us to empathy and healing. Our work deepens intersectional solidarity among Black sub communities and across justice movements. This is critical to our collective health and liberation.

How can we build internal solidarity across identities and priorities to advance HIV work within Black communities?

Sexual & Gender Identity

We value sex positivity and sexual expression as a form of liberation. To love our bodies and hold an affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male‐centeredness is central to our liberation from traditional expectations of gender, relationship structures, sexuality, and sexual roles.

How can Black communities move toward embracing diverse expressions of gender and sexuality as a part of ending the HIV epidemic?