Samara Sellers

“I think black churches should do more to address AIDS because the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in our community is more rapid. It’s spreading more quickly, and we’re being more careless with it and the ways HIV is being transmitted. So in order to cure AIDS, but also to stop the epidemic of AIDS, we need to be more involved, and what better way than in our church because in our community the black church is what actually runs the community.”

Dudlita Prewitt

“Yes, I think that black churches should be involved. It would be very helpful if every black church had an AIDS ministry. I think one of the barriers is that churches are not meeting the people where they are. Traditionally sexual contact out of wedlock was forbidden according to the Bible, but in the day and age we live in now, it’s a fact that people are having sexual relations outside of wedlock, and the church needs to assist those people as well as those who are married, and meet the people where they are. We need to do this collectively; together we can make some changes. We need participation of all churches, and if they need assistance in getting AIDS ministries started, there are pastors who have AIDS ministries that are active and they can get assistance from those pastors. So, yes, I do believe that churches need to be more involved. We need to do this together; we need to service the people and meet the people where they are. And a focus needs to be on adolescents in the church also.”

Monica Giles

“Basically I think they should do more to address the issue of AIDS. But we have to go beyond the issue of addressing AIDS and get behind the real issue of sex, which is actually the breakdown of the black family. If there is no grandma, mama, no daddy, no uncle, auntie or somebody to pick up the slack of raising the kids, then what are they going to do? They are going to turn to the streets, and that is where everything is out there. ‘Idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’

“At the time I was growing up, there was always something for us to do. You knew you had to have a certain amount of respect for yourself as well as your elders. Today young people go around cursing at 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 years old?”I mean to adults, being disrespectful. But there is nobody to teach the children. The television is teaching them, and the media puts anything out there. It’s a bad portrayal of us, and the churches need to address that. They need to be open during the week. You can’t just have church on Sunday and for the next six days what are the kids going to do? The doors are locked.

“Growing up, I had social center programs, home economics, teaching young girls how to take care of themselves, teaching young men how to conduct themselves. Even games of shooting pool?”they don’t have that anymore?”playing ping-pong and roller skating. We need to address the issue that there isn’t anything for young people to do. If a child is busy, he doesn’t have time to think about sex. So many of the children growing up today are illiterate. You can punch a computer, [but] your mind is a computer. You shouldn’t have to take a calculator and be able to do your math homework. You have a pencil and a piece of paper. That’s where your computer comes in. If the computer goes down, you don’t know how to fix it.”

Beverly Rogers

“I do think the black churches should do more with AIDS education because people need to be saved out here. The Austin community I understand is number one. We have more AIDS victims than any other part of the city of Chicago. So, yes, our churches need to get involved. It’s not just saving souls. It’s saving lives and saving families.”

Herrsterstine Burns

“Yes, I think the churches should be more involved in this issue because it’s ravishing our community, and it will make a difference if the churches would reach out.”