The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to partner with the Hyacinth Foundation to present Leadership Hyacinth, a two-day advocacy training course for community leaders who want to increase their awareness and advocacy efforts. Leadership Hyacinth also marks the launch of the Union County End the Epidemic public awareness campaign, aimed at increasing participation in advocacy efforts for HIV/AIDS, STI & Hep C.

The free training program will be held on Monday, May 18 and Tuesday May 19 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM each day at the Warinanco Sports Center, located in Warinanco Park at One Park Drive in Roselle.

Seating is limited and preregistration is required online at ucnj.org/lgbtq.

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“Community involvement is crucial to ending the HIV epidemic,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “The Freeholder Board is proud to partner with Hyacinth Foundation to increase the impact of their work in our communities. As a special initiative for 2020, Union County joins Governor Murphy in implementing a strategy to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma, by empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information.”

Leadership Hyacinth is organized by the Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs in partnership with Hyacinth Foundation. Upon completion of the program, participants will attain fluency in federal and state HIV/AIDS strategies and policies, and they will be able to use science-based evidence to communicate effectively on broad public health issues, including presentations to policy makers at the local, state and federal level through letters, email, phone calls and face to face meetings. 

 “Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, held annually on February 7. Here in the United States, even as we have seen some decreases, the statistics remain alarming for African Americans. Black people continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, and today is a day that we can use to talk about HIV/AIDS – but not only today,” said Freeholder Rebecca Williams, liaison to the Union County LGBTQ Ad Hoc Committee. “Today leaders in all communities affected by HIV/AIDS are encouraged to join the Freeholder Board and Hyacinth Foundation for the leadership advocacy training to learn strategies for increasing their efforts throughout the year to end the epidemic.”

"It's critically important that the voices of the communities impacted by HIV be heard by legislators and state leaders. Leadership Hyacinth empowers individuals to find their voice and share their stories so that decisions about them are made with them at the table. We are thrilled that Union County has shown its commitment to ending the HIV epidemic, as it will take all of us, working together, to end this epidemic,” said Kathy Ahearn-O'Brien, Executive Director, Hyacinth.

Presented as part of Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella’s 2020 special initiatives, the Union County End the Epidemic HIV/AIDS awareness and advocacy campaign will include a series programs and resources for community leaders and organizations in communities throughout Union County.

Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, under the Department of Economic Development, was established by the Freeholder Board in 2018 and is the first and only county government office of its kind in the State of New Jersey.

The Office of LGBTQ Affairs provides a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality, and serves as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action on current and emerging issues that impact the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.

For more information about the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, contact Danni Newbury, Coordinator, at 908-527-4742 or dnewbury@ucnj.org or visit ucnj.org/LGBTQ.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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