AIDS United-Affiliated Leaders Honored by Planned Parenthood for Black History Month

Washington, D.C. – February 12, 2014 – Donna Crews, AIDS United Director of Government Affairs, and Deon Haywood, Executive Director of Women with a Vision (an AU grantee), each have been honored by Planned Parenthood for Black History Month as one of 98 Planned Parenthood Dream Keepers. Crews and Haywood are among the ranks of the country’s most esteemed African-American leaders, including lawmakers, activists, clergy, educators, students, and even the President and First Lady.

Crews was honored as a “Defender,” as a public policy ally of sexual health care. At AIDS United, Crews works closely with members of the House of Representatives, Senate, and Administration to develop sound policies and programs in response to the HIV epidemic in the United States. A 24-year veteran of federal policy and politics, Crews began her Congressional career working as a staff person for Rep. Donald M. Payne, Sr. (D-NJ), who served 12 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was the first African American congressman from New Jersey. But it was her work as Director of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), under the leadership of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), that Crews discovered her passion for HIV advocacy, as one of the architects of the Congressional Minority AIDS Initiative. Now at AIDS United Crews is the co-chair of the AIDS Budget and Appropriations Coalition and is an architect of the community budget and appropriations strategy.

“Divided we can be powerful, but united we are unstoppable,” said Crews. “It is humbling to be recognized as one of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s 98 Dream Keepers working toward a healthier, more just society with the goal of ending AIDS in America.”

Haywood was named a “Do’er” as one who is working on the front lines to increase health care access and opportunity for the black community. Her organization, Women with a Vision, is a New Orleans-based community organization founded in 1991 to improve the lives of marginalized women, their families, and communities by addressing the social conditions that hinder their health and well-being. Since Hurricane Katrina, she has led the organization to a vibrant locally-rooted international network addressing the complex intersection of socio-economic injustices and health disparities. In 2009, Haywood oversaw the launch of WWAV’s NO Justice Project, a campaign to combat the sentencing of women and trans* people arrested for street-based sex work under Louisiana’s 203-yr-old “crime against nature” felony-level law, which resulted in a federal judicial ruling and the removal of more than 700 women from the sex offender registry.

“The essence of social change is having the courage to take action against injustice,” said Haywood.

“We are so proud that two members of our AIDS United family have been honored by Planned Parenthood Federation as among the most distinguished black leaders in our country,” said AIDS United President and CEO Michael Kaplan. “Both of these women have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to ending the HIV epidemic in our country and within the populations most disproportionately affected by it, including African Americans. We celebrate with them during this Black History Month and as we recognize their tremendous, continuing contributions to the field.”