by Tiffany Young, Red Pump Rocker
“Red Pump Day” was amazing and the “Red Summer Soiree” was an event to remember. The Red Pump Project held its official Washington, D.C. sold-out launch event on June 21, 2014, at M Street Bar and Grill at the St. Gregory Hotel & Suites.
Red Summer Soiree brought together local advocates, bloggers, event planners, local socialites, and family and friends to a benefit brunch commemorating National HIV Testing Day (which is June 27, annually). Attendees enjoyed a gourmet three-course brunch with unlimited mimosas and champagne, live entertainment, an awards presentation and a silent auction.
The event received its stamped of approval when Alida Sanchez, commissioner with The Commission of Fashion Arts and Events and Monica Ivey, development manager with DC Fashion Foundation, presented Red Pump with a proclamation from DC’s Mayor Vincent C. Gray that made June 21st officially “Red Pump Day” in Washington, D.C.
During the event, three women living in the DC area told their stories about how HIV/AIDS has impacted their lives. The stories brought on tears and emphasized important facts about HIV/AIDS, like how black women account for the majority (92.2%) of HIV cases in the District (doh.dc.gov). A poem by Mr. Dwayne Lawson-Brown, an advocate with Metro Teens AIDS entitled: “Her Story, Our Story,” explained the rhythm and blues of how HIV/AIDS stories impacts us all and are real. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Red Pump Project’s founders Karyn Watkins and Luvvie Ajayi presented Lisa Fager Bediako, leader of the Congressional black Caucus Foundation’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, with the 2014 Ultimate Red Pump Rocker Award.
Brittani Menina, Red Pump’s national Ambassador Coordinator, leads all Red Pump DC efforts.
DJ E-Boogie provided the music for the Red Summer Soiree and Red Pump Ambassador Jameka Whitten served at the mistress of ceremonies.
Event Sponsors included Walgreens and Events by Jerome as well as supporting partners Groove Theory Designs, Chelca Studios, The Commission of Fashion Arts and Events, Black Gives Back, Black Women For, MetroTeens AIDS, b Condoms, Jaali Co. LLC, DJ E-Boogie, L’Afropolitan PR and JSW Media Group.
*Video recap courtesy of Chuck Holliday/Chelca Studios