July 18, 2016 at 7:46 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
AIDS Healthcare Foundation holds pre-RNC concert

Mary Mary, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, gay news, Washington Blade

Mary Mary speaks to reporters at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University in Cleveland on July 17, 2016, before performing at a concert for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

CLEVELAND — More than 3,000 people on Sunday attended an AIDS Healthcare Foundation concert at Cleveland State University that took place on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

Gospel R&B duo Mary Mary and the Roots were among those who performed during the concert that took place roughly a mile from the arena in which the RNC will take place.

Journalist Soledad O’Brien, who emceed the concert, described HIV as among the issues of “global importance.”

“It is up to all of us to use our collective voices to hold those who are in elected office accountable,” she said.

Cornel West, a prominent civil rights activist, was among those who also spoke.

“United we stand in support of human rights, civil rights, immigrant rights and united we stand in support of the black lives matter movement,” said “Orange Is The New Black” actress Diane Guerrero.

Queen Latifah and thousands of others on Saturday took part in a march in Durban, South Africa, that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation organized ahead of the International AIDS Conference.

‘We are all in this together’

Sunday’s concert took place hours after a gunman killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, La.

The convention will take place against mounting security concerns in the wake of this shooting, last week’s terrorist attack in the French city of Nice and the killings of five Dallas police officers and two black men — Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castle in Falcon Heights, Minn. — earlier this month.

A gunman on June 12 killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre reiterated his call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and to suspend immigration from areas “when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe and our allies.” President Obama is among those who repudiated the billionaire’s comments that sparked widespread outrage.

“We are all in this together,” said Guerrero. “The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can work together to end this violence, to end this hate.”

“Please, please do not let our opponents divide us,” she added. “We will keep our promise to vote to end hate if they don’t keep the promise to defend our rights.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

Comments are closed
© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved.