The African American Office of Gay Concerns (AAOGC) is a 501 c 3 Community-Based Organization located in Newark, New Jersey. It was founded in 2001 and opened its doors in downtown Newark in March, 2002. The organization received its initial funding through the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) because there was no other agency in New Jersey that specifically targeted African American and men of color who were gay-identified, bi-sexual or men who had sex with other men (MSM). Through the efforts of its founder and current Executive Director, Gary Paul Wright, funding was secured to ensure that MSM of color had a voice in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The two main programs of the AAOGC are The BROTHER Project (Brothers Reaching Out Through Health Education and Risk Reduction) for men and T.G.I.F. (Thank Goodness I’m Fabulous!) Peer Advocate Project for the transgender population. Both projects provide support groups for its participants. Individual and group outreach is also a component of the AAOGC, with participation in local health fairs, college events and inter-agency programs. The AAOGC has partnered with the City of East Orange for the last four years in the observance of the National African American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. They have also been a major player with respect in the Newark EMA’s Day Of Learning, World AIDS Day festivities, and United We Stand, a citywide outreach effort.
The staff of the AAOGC clearly reflects the community it serves. While the staff is small, members of the gay community, straight community and transgender community are part of its makeup. Currently, there are HIV-positive as well as HIV-negative persons on board. They also participate as members of the Newark EMA HIV Health Services Planning Council, the New Jersey HIVAIDS Planning Group (NJHPG), the Governor’s Advisory Council on HIV and Other Blood-Borne Pathogens, the United Way of Essex and West Hudson’s Vision Council and the City of Newark’s newly-established LGBTQ Advisory Commission.
|Gary Paul Wright,
Project Coordinator - The BROTHER Project
Project Associate – The TGIF Peer Advocate Project
|Position Currently Open
Project Associate – The BROTHER Project