Red Pump Project Stomps Out HIV/AIDS
What do you get when you combine two fashionable international bloggers and a passion for educating women and girls about the dangers of HIV/AIDS? You get the Red Pump Project, a national initiative going into it’s 5th year in operation. We recently sat down with the team who created this nationwide movement that encourages women to “Rock the Red” pumps for awareness:
BDO: Who is Red Pump?
Red Pump: The Red Pump Project is an organization founded by Karyn Watkins and Luvvie Ajayi in 2009. Our mission is to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. We empower, educate, and motivate action by boldly driving conversation online and offline around HIV prevention and issues related to sexual and reproductive health. Our use the Red Pump is to symbolize the strength and courage of women affected by HIV/AIDS.
Originally, the Red Pump Project was launched as a social media initiative to commemorate National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10). However, based on the response to our Rock the Red Pump® campaign, we decided to formalize our work and segue it into a nonprofit. While we are based in Chicago, we have ambassadors in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, and Washington D.C. These ladies lead teams of volunteers who plan Red Pump events and build partnerships with local AIDS service organizations.
BDO: Where does your passion about Red Pump come from?
Red Pump: Several years ago, a friend disclosed his HIV status with me. It was the first time that I had ever met someone living with HIV so I wanted to learn more about it and see what I could do to help. I was very surprised to see that the disease that had been called a “gay, white man disease” was actually affecting communities of color in a very devastating way – especially women of color. It’s hard not to get fired up when the CDC says that one in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. “Why does that have to happen? Can that be changed?…