Fort Lauderdale, FL—The Southern AIDS Coalition (“SAC”) announced today the appointment of Alejandro Acosta as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy. In this role, Alejandro will manage SAC’s federal, state, and local efforts to secure systemic policy changes and collaborative work with advocacy leaders across the southern United States. “Having Alejandro join our team marks an exciting new chapter in SAC’s policy and advocacy efforts,” says SAC Executive Director Dafina Ward. “This is a pivotal moment in the region for engaging communities and lawmakers in efforts to end unjust policies that disproportionately impact those living with HIV. Alejandro comes to this role with demonstrated skills and passion that will undoubtedly promote greater health equity in the region.”
“Me siento orgulloso de poder representar a la communidad Latinx y ser un portavoz de la importancia de la justicia del lenguaje en el Sur donde muchas veces la población Latinx pasa por desapercibida.”
“I feel very proud to be able to represent my Latinx community and to be an advocate for language justice in the South where the Latinx population is often taken for granted.”
—Alejandro Acosta, Southern AIDS Coalition Director of Public Policy & Advocacy
Alejandro joins SAC following his tenure with Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization focused on securing the rights of the LGBTQ community. As their initial HIV Advocacy Coordinator, he launched the advocacy program from its inception to end HIV transmissions in the state of Florida and decrease HIV stigma through a legislative agenda, stakeholder education, and community engagement. As a member of the Florida HIV Justice Coalition, he co-chairs the Communications & Community Engagement on the HIV modernization effort in the state. Alejandro is also one of the founding members of LatinxPlus, a network for Latinx people living with HIV. He is also a graduate of the AIDS United Southern HIV Impact Fund Leadership Development Cohort (2018) and has presented nationally on best practices in this field.
Alejandro’s journey into public policy began with his passion as an educator. He served in several roles in Broward County (FL) Public Schools, the sixth-largest school district in the country. His work in Broward County Public Schools included being a Sexual Health & Diversity Inclusion Trainer as part of the Center for Disease Control’s Division Adolescent School Health (DASH) Program. After 17 years as an educator, he realized the need for more HIV advocacy and sexual health education from within the community. This led him to become a certified HIV Tester/Peer Counselor for one of South Florida’s leading service providers for the Latinx community. Acosta was born, raised, and educated in Puerto Rico where he completed a Master’s degree in English Education with a minor in Linguistics from his hometown at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.
“Education was my path out of poverty. I grew up with very limited resources and feel identified with people from ignored communities who often cannot advocate for themselves. It thrills me to share knowledge, skills, and information with people from all backgrounds.” Acosta’s passion for education is clear and he believes is the key to an HIV-free South.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Southern AIDS Coalition to continue to build on the work from the Public Policy Committee, to empower communities across the southern region with advocacy skills, and to provide people living with HIV the necessary tools to become part of the policy-making process. The time has come for our laws to reflect the decades of scientific progress to finally end transmissions and eliminate HIV stigma.” said Acosta.
“Alejandro has been a leader in the HIV advocacy community for many years in Florida, and we’re thrilled and excited that he’s joining the team at Southern AIDS Coalition,” says Lee Storrow, Public Policy Chair of the SAC Board of Directors. “I know he’s going to be a vocal champion for HIV treatment and prevention policy in the South.”
About Southern AIDS Coalition
Southern AIDS Coalition is a regional organization serving the 16 southern states and Washington, D.C. One of the most consequential HIV/AIDS advocacy organizations in America, Southern AIDS Coalition convenes key influencers annually via its signature programs that include Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. SAC is a non-partisan coalition of government, community, and corporate leaders working alongside thousands of individual members to end the HIV epidemic in the South. SAC is also a Gilead COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Center, providing a range of grants and capacity-building services to organizations and leaders in the nine Deep South states. SAC’s portfolio includes leadership development opportunities for persons living with HIV; intersectional advocacy; capacity-building assistance; research and evaluation; and strategic grant-making. To learn more or to join us, visit www.southernaidscoalition.org.