Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09



AIDS: Jose Love, youth activist tries to make a difference
by John J. Accrocco

This article shared 3655 times since Wed Feb 29, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In a country where an alarming amount of young people take their lives in response to bullying over sexual orientation, organizations like Chicago-based Youth Pride Services are vital.

For nearly a decade, this national program has provided leadership and hope to a generation of Black, queer, youth. "Youth at hope, not at risk," is the YPS slogan on their Facebook page. This member-driven initiative has helped shine light on issues of sexual orientation and HIV awareness within young, ethnic MSM ( men who have sex with men ) communities via outreach events, lectures and resources.

"They have been a heart to the youth in Chicago," said Michigan chapter leader Jose Love, 20. "From helping mold the mindset of the youth so that they can be good citizens and so much more. I am forever thankful that they put faith in me to be the bridge for Michigan, to do the same with my team here."

This year, YPS/Code Red are sending Jose Love to the Black Treatment of Advocates Network ( BTAN ) National Steering Committee. BTAN is being backed by the Black AIDS Institute and Jose Love will be part of a very public platform that will help initiate teams and services for getting all Black Americans living with HIV into treatment.

Love, along with another YPS member, were selected by their peers by election as a representative for YPS to the BTAN National Steering Committee.

Empowerment at large is what this service is all about. The national YPS collective, Code Red, is comprised of the top LGBT youth leaders in the country. Code Red members also act as the national faces and public voice of YPS and meet via teleconference to discuss issues facing their demographic.

"I am most grateful in being selected! I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be on such a platform so soon in my life. God has something for me to do here and this is just the beginning," said Love.

Jose Love nee James Fergerson was born and raised in Detroit. He was born with strong connections to the church—he's the son of a pastor. "I'm a very optimistic person. … The church has been a big part of my life. I think it's helped form the foundation of my activism. I don't care if you're gay, straight, bi, Christian or Jewish, we all have the divine right to be treated equal," Love said.

Life as an openly gay man has not been particularly easy for Love. He attended a Detroit public high school that he recalls as being "full of machismo. In a predominantly Black high school it was so hard to be the first openly gay guy. It took me two difficult years to change most of their minds about homosexuality. And I try not to define myself as just gay. I'm human and I don't want me or anyone else to be treated like a leper for making our life decisions."

On coming out of the closet to his family, Love was met with more adversity: "Sweet Jesus it was hell. My mom took it so hard: we fought, cursed at each other and I was put out. My name was blackened in the family. However, my father's side handled it with grace. All he said was that it was between me and god. Were they happy? No, but in the end they wouldn't judge me for who I am. My mother's mindset has since changed because of how I carry myself and who I have become."

After graduating high school in 2010, Love got involved with Code Red when a friend told him about YPS. "The mission statement was something that I believed strongly in, so I got active." In his short time with YPS, Love became a part of the more administrative Code Red where he is a youth mentor and an open ear for the problems facing the YPS members he guides. "I tell my folks to show their true colors. When I show my true colors, I attract so many more people," he said.

"I believe I have always been an activist and not just for the LGBT community, but the world and what is right," Love said. "It pains me to see the things going on, and not just in the gay community. My problem with my specific community is how far apart we have become. As I look at documentaries about the struggles that so many have undergone so that we can be where we are today, it saddens me. People have lost their lives and in return we act uneducated. That's not who we are and that's why the world has such a negative viewpoint of us, because of the ignorance some people are displaying."

Now that Love is part of an even bigger committee, his guidance will be more important than ever as BTAN's National Steering Committee has much to accomplish. "I'm hoping through being on this platform that I can touch nations and be a voice for the people that don't know and don't have the resources to know."

In addition to Love's commitments with YPS and BTAN, he is studying psychology and counseling at Schoolcraft College in Michigan. "My life is headed in a very positive direction. As well as being a student, I just became a Balie Dai model. I'm on the right track I believe. My career goals are simple."

This story is part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.

This article shared 3655 times since Wed Feb 29, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Research documents disproportionate harms of discrimination on LGBTQ People of Color
--From a press release - Today, a coalition of leading LGBTQ rights groups joined together to release the most extensive summaries to date of scholarly data on the intersection of anti-LGBTQ and racial discrimination. The research brief, authored by the What ...

Gay News

New book sets the record straight on Act Up New York
Novelist, playwright, nonfiction writer, journalist, screenwriter, LGBTQ+-rights activist and AIDS historian Sarah Schuman preserves the power of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) while laying everything out about ...

Gay News

Essential tips for your COVID-free travel
COVID-19 will make travel a bit more complicated this summer. Going to Europe? Taking a cruise? Visiting Hawaii, San Juan or St. Lucia? Or maybe you are planning a road trip? The rules for traveling responsibly ...

Gay News

New Broadway Youth Center being readied for 2021 opening
Work continues on Howard Brown Health's (Howard Brown) new 20,000 square-foot Broadway Youth Center (BYC) facility at 1053 W. Irving Park Rd. BYC has spent years looking for a permanent home. After launching in Lake View, ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health looks ahead to post-pandemic Chicago
As more Chicagoans get vaccinated against the COVID-19 infection, officials at Howard Brown Health (Howard Brown) are preparing their responses to a health landscape that will likely be much different from what it was before the ...

Gay News

When crime goes viral
Activists say Illinois's law that makes it illegal to expose others to HIV is racist and homophobic. Now they're close to changing it.
In early 2016, Jimmy Amutavi had what he considered a happy life. More ...

Gay News

HIV at 40: Erie Family Health Center, focused on helping at-risk communities
HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects Black communities—with Black gay and bisexual Black men and Black trans women being the most affected population than any other group in the country. More specifically, one in two Black MSM (men who ...

Gay News

HIV at 40: Dr. Anthony Fauci on the early days of another pandemic
Dr. Anthony Fauci has been called "America's doctor"—and with good reason. His face and advice regarding COVID have seemingly been omnipresent since the virus affected the masses early in 2020. However, decades before the word "coronavirus" ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health announces first Fellowship Class of Future Public Leaders Program
--From a Howard Brown Health press release - (Chicago, Ill., June 7, 2021) - Howard Brown Health is honored to announce the first six fellows to receive paid internships as part of the Gregory Shapen Public Health Fellowship Endowment Fund. The program was established ...

Gay News

National AIDS Memorial brings leaders of AIDS movement together to mark 40 years
--From a press release - San Francisco (Saturday, June 5, 2021) — Leaders of the AIDS movement came together in the National AIDS Memorial — the nation's federally-designated memorial to AIDS — to mark forty years since the first cases of ...

Gay News

Harold J. Phillips appointed director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy
--From a press release - Statement from Jeffrey S. Crowley, distinguished scholar and director of the Infectious Disease Initiatives at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center: I applaud President Biden's appointment of ...

Gay News

Gov. Pritzker issues guidelines for Illinois reopening on June 11
--From a press release - SPRINGFIELD — Following weeks of steady decreases in new positive COVID-19 cases and with over 67% of residents age 18 and older receiving their first vaccine dose, Governor JB Pritzker is releasing guidelines for Phase 5 ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood Illinois launches COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) is kicking off a summer-long COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign with two virtual Community Conversations on June 17 and June 24 (Spanish language event) ...

Gay News

Howard Brown, partners launch research collaborative on COVID and LGBTQs
In order to bridge the gap in knowledge about COVID-19 health experiences for LGBTQ people, five federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that specialize in reducing barriers to care for LGBTQ populations—along with The PRIDE Study, the ...

Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot helps break ground at AIDS Garden Chicago
On June 2, various local officials, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, helped break ground at the AIDS Garden Chicago—the city's first public park to memorialize the early days of Chicago's HIV epidemic, and to honor those ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.