Posted on: December 6, 2023 Posted by: Dr. Courtney A Hammonds Comments: 2
Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds, Senior Fashion Editor, Upscale Magazine and Candace Meadows Image courtesy of JElijah photography.

In a dynamic and impactful union of forces, the Emory COMPASS Coordinating Center of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®, in partnership with GLAAD, the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Black Women’s Health Imperative, the CDC Division of HIV Prevention, THRIVE SS, and LOTUS, orchestrated a compelling two-day activation to honor and commemorate World AIDS Day 2023.

#ATLWAD2023 commenced with the exclusive “Creative Cuisine” private dinner, a collaboration between GLAAD’s Communities of Color and Media and the Emory COMPASS Center. This unique gathering brought together influential figures from entertainment, fashion, media, and public health, sparking meaningful conversations and collaborations centered on Black health equity and reshaping the narrative on HIV. Let’s delve into the stylish attendees who graced this remarkable event.

Creatives and philanthropists Miss Lawrence and Derek J. Image courtesy of JElijah photography.
Multifaceted artist Victor Jackson Image courtesy of JElijah photography.
S. Karimah McFarlane, the proprietor of Buckhead Art & Company, with Candace Meadows. Image courtesy of JElijah photography.
Image courtesy of JElijah photography.
Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds, senior fashion editor at Upscale, alongside  celebrated designer India Starke, proprietor of Style Junkiez Klozet. Image courtesy of JElijah Photography.
Renowned DJ Toni K Image courtesy of JElijah Photography.

The #ATLWAD2023 collaboration was a potent union with GLAAD, City of Atlanta, Black Women’s Health Imperative, CDC, THRIVE SS, and LOTUS. It’s more than an event; it’s a collective commitment to health equity and narrative transformation. – Candace Meadows, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Emory COMPASS.

After the dinner, “Stories of Triumph” opened—an inspiring portrait exhibit by photographer and activist Sean Black (@seanblackofficial). Celebrating resilience among Southern HIV leaders, the exhibit is at Buckhead Art and Company until December 10, 2023.

“Stories of Triumph,” a captivating portraiture art exhibit by photographer, arts activist, and educator Sean Black Image courtesy of JElijah photography.
Acclaimed photographer and arts activist Sean Black, alongside Candace Meadows, the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Emory COMPASS. Image courtesy of JElijah Photography.

The momentum soared with the compelling “Cocktails + Conversation” segment, hosting dynamic discussions with esteemed guests including Dyllón Burnside from the acclaimed FX series Pose, Toni Bryce from the hit Starz series P-Valley, and distinguished Southern HIV leaders like Darwin Thompson (Gilead Sciences, Inc.), Sloane Bowman (CDC Division of HIV Prevention), Dr. Sophia Hussen (Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University), and Larry Scott-Walker (THRIVE SS).

Cocktails + Conversation Panelist Image courtesy of JElijah photography.
Image courtesy of JElijah photography.

In addition to the impactful December 1st events, #ATLWAD2023 embraced a diverse array of activities, from invigorating Morning Yoga sessions to engaging Art, Sip & Strolls, and a compelling Filmfest featuring five thought-provoking films curated by COMPASS Partners.

In the vibrant tapestry of #ATLWAD2023, we witnessed the dynamic fusion of art, culture, and a shared dialogue propelling us toward health equity, especially in confronting the Southern HIV/AIDS epidemic. This initiative stood as a testament to the strides made but, equally importantly, underscored the continuous commitment required to overcome this persistent challenge. As we reflect on the impact of this event, let it serve as a reminder that our collective voice and actions remain pivotal in shaping a healthier and more equitable future. Stay informed and engaged with the transformative work of the Emory COMPASS Center and the Gilead COMPASS Initiative on their social media platforms @BeOurCOMPASS or by visiting Together, we can forge a path towards lasting change and a brighter tomorrow.

Fashionably yours with care,

Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds, Senior Fashion Editor, Upscale Magazine


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Image courtesy of JElijah photography.

2 People reacted on this

  1. Dr. Hammonds – thank you for this incredible piece and sharing your amazing spirit with us at #ATLWAD2023. I sincerely appreciate you putting a spotlighting on the Southern HIV epidemic. Your commitment to Black health equity shines through in all that you do! I am humbled by and appreciate your engagement and leadership in this space and look forward to creating possible with you to advance Black health equity. Thank you for being such a radiant light!

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