Jonathan Larson to be Honored Posthumously at NBLCA's 25th Anniversary Benefit Reception; Anthony Rapp, Phil Ramone and Tiki Barber to Chair

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National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. (NBLCA) will host its 25th Anniversary Choose Life Awards Hall of Hope and Remembrance Benefit Reception on Thursday, June 7, 2012, at 583 Park Avenue in New York City.

The Choose Life Awards Hall of Hope and Remembrance recognizes outstanding individuals and corporations committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS and related health disparities in the African American community. The benefit reception will also pay tribute to activists who have died working to end the AIDS epidemic, leaving a legacy of inspiration and motivation.

The late Jonathan Larson, Composer and Author of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Rent, will be inducted posthumously into the Hall of Hope and Remembrance for spreading awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in today’s society through the musical. Duane Cramer, celebrity fashion photographer and AIDS activist living with HIV, will be inducted for his passionate activism and advocacy of HIV/AIDS awareness and education. Carla A. Harris, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, will be inducted for being a role model and agent of change to end health disparities in minority communities. Five-time Grammy Award winner and AIDS activist Dionne Warwick will be inducted for her decades-long AIDS activism and efforts to heighten public awareness about the disease’s ravaging impact on the black community.

WABC7, WCBS2/WLNY55 and WNBC4, New York City’s local television stations, reporters and anchors, will be recognized at the benefit for drawing attention to the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in New York City and their support of the NBLCA.

Distinguished guests from the health care field, arts, sports and entertainment industry and business community will attend the benefit reception. The black-tie affair will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by an awards ceremony and induction into the Hall of Hope and Remembrance, dinner, and dancing. Wendy Williams, host of the daytime talk show "The Wendy Williams Show," will host the benefit reception.

While African Americans represented only 14 percent of the nation’s population in 2009, statistics show that they account for 44 percent of all new HIV infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC reports that at some point in their lifetimes, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with the HIV infection.

"The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS is honored to recognize these esteemed individuals and news organizations at our annual benefit for their strong commitment and courage in helping to combat HIV/AIDS in our local communities," said C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. "Fighting AIDS requires urgent action now. Our honorees are leading this fight and continue to shine the light on the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and the alarming, disproportionate rate of the disease in the Black community.”

NFL star Tiki Barber, legendary music producer Phil Ramone and Broadway actor Anthony Rapp will serve as the evening’s Honorary Dinner Chairs. Dinner co-chairs are Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake, Senior Pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York and Debra Fraser-Howze, NBLCA’s Founder and President Emerita, Senior Vice President of Government & External Affairs, OraSure Technologies, Inc.

The 25th Anniversary Milestone Committee includes: Bernard B. Beal; Dr. Rose Blackburne; Corwin J. Breeden;
William Craver; Cheryl McKissack Daniel; Rev. Roosevelt Dixon; Suzanne A. DuBose; Hazel N. Dukes; Rev. Dr. Sedgwick V. Easley; Leon Eastmond, Jr.; Rev. Dr. W. James Favorite; Marjorie J. Hill, Ph.D.; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Rev. Dr. James A. Lewis, III; Dr. Marcella Maxwell; Dr. Megan McLaughlin; NBA/WNBA; OraSure Technologies, Inc.; Regina R. Quattrochi; Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III; Rev. Hilton O. Smith; Touro College Of Osteopathic Medicine; Rev. Dr. Frank D. Tucker; United Way of New York City; Reginald Van Lee and Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock.

Merck is the 25th Anniversary event underwriter. All proceeds from the benefit reception will support the NBLCA’s mission to educate, organize, and empower Black leaders, including clergy, elected officials, medical practitioners, business professionals, social policy experts, and the media, to meet the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS and other health disparities in their local communities.

For tickets to the benefit reception please call Cailin Fitzgerald at The JFM Group at 212.921.9070 ext. 11 or email nblca@thejfmgroup.com for more information. Individual tickets begin at $500, sponsorship packages begin at $5,000.

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