Emory University's Rose Library wins archival grant to foster AIDS education

Published 10-09-2017

by Hal Jacobs

A red ribbon from SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.'s National AIDS Minority Information and Education program, circa 1985-1995. Credit: SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. records, Rose Library at Emory University.

The Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University has received an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant for $107,706 to organize a community-based project that will address the rising rates of HIV/AIDS in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Entitled “Revisiting R.A.C.E.: Leveraging Archival Resources for AIDS Education,” the project will forge connections among medical, academic, social service, religious, advocacy, and artistic communities to raise awareness and combat the epidemic.

“It is clear that the major drivers of HIV infection are poverty, unemployment, lack of education and health insurance,” says Carlos del Rio, the Hubert Professor of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health, professor of medicine specializing in infectious diseases at Emory’s School of Medicine, and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). “If you add stigma, discrimination, and racism, you have a perfect milieu for high HIV rates.”

Over 54,000 Georgians are living with HIV (with two-thirds of them residing in the Atlanta metro area) and an average of 3,000 are newly diagnosed each year. Georgia ranks fifth in the U.S. for the total number of people living with HIV, second among states in the rate of new HIV diagnoses, and third in the number of people living with an AIDS diagnosis (based on a 2015 report from the Georgia Department of Public Health). The southeastern U.S. is now the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the nation, and this requires a collective effort on the part of organizations, institutions, academic centers, and individuals to confront.

As home to the archives for the AIDS Legacy Project and the historic documents of SCLC/Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now (SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.), the Rose Library has been at the forefront in documenting the city of Atlanta’s response to AIDS.

“The Rose Library looks forward to partnering with Emory CFAR and SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. to connect our communities with the library and educational resources that can effect positive change in the lives of those impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” says Jennifer Meehan, associate director of the Rose Library. “Through these types of partnerships, we hope to realize the goal of the IMLS grant to transform how the library works with our communities, and the university’s commitment to deepen engagement with Atlanta.”

With the help of the IMLS grant, the Rose Library will use its resources to educate and empower the Atlanta community and connect the stories of diverse groups to unite them through a shared history. SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. can offer a robust volunteer roster, an existing Task Force on Health and Welfare and a deep understanding of the needs of Atlanta’s African American community.

“The work of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. in relationship to the AIDS crisis has long been an inspiration to the staff at Rose Library,” says Courtney Chartier, head of research services at the Rose Library. “As an organization, they show a deep commitment to understanding the needs of and providing services to the African American community in Atlanta and beyond, and we are delighted that this grant will help us to better celebrate their past activism and support their future works.”

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