In a letter co-authored by Christian musician Michael W. Smith and Christian emcee and poet Propaganda, among others, more than 80 faith leaders from all 50 states and across faith traditions asked Congress to reauthorize the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which has helped save 25 million lives from HIV/AIDS since its creation in 2003.
Faith leaders have been essential to the creation & success of @PEPFAR & its work to end #AIDS.
Significant to see so many faith leaders from 50 states, including @michaelwsmith @prophiphop @jfeltymccall @Gospelbroker, call on Congress to support of PEPFAR reauthorization. https://t.co/TZANckRuN2
— Tom Hart (@Tom_at_ONE) April 19, 2023
(Never heard of PEPFAR? Read a quick history here!)
Three takeaways from the letter:
1) Faith Leaders Were Critical to PEPFAR’s creation
Setting aside differences in service of a common goal is central to the creation and continued success of PEPFAR. 25 million lives saved from HIV/AIDS would not have been possible without a group of “unlikely allies,” including the faith community.
2) Faith Organizations Continue to Contribute to PEPFAR’s Success
The global faith community has been a critical resource in the implementation of PEPFAR on the ground in African countries. Faith organizations and leaders have a deeply rooted community presence, carrying a level of trust that, in the early days of PEPFAR, was not guaranteed for a US aid program.
3) There’s still more work to be done to end AIDS
As we look back on 20 years of PEPFAR’s life-saving work, it’s important to note that the mission is far from complete. As the faith leaders note in their letter, “in a time when there is too much emphasis on what divides us, it’s important to rally around the tenets of faith that bring us together to do good for our fellow brothers and sisters.”
Congress must reauthorize PEPFAR this year so it can continue its lifesaving work and finally finish the fight to end HIV/AIDS for everyone, everywhere.
Want to learn more about PEPFAR? Keep an eye on the ONE blog – this story is a part of our “PEPFAR at 20” series highlighting the program’s life-saving work while we fight for reauthorization in 2023!