About The Red Pump Project
The Red Pump Project® is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Our mission is to promote HIV prevention through education, and open dialogue about the issues that surround sexual and reproductive health. We do work online and on the ground to motivate action and encourage dialogue about the effects of the disease.
Founded in March 2009 by Luvvie Ajayi and Karyn Watkins, Red Pump believes that if HIV affects one, it affects us all. We use the red shoe as a symbol of empowerment to represent the strength and courage of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. We use a powerful symbol for a powerful cause. The incorporation of fashion into the message of HIV prevention is our contribution as we hope to show that Awareness is Always in Style!
What We Do
Rock the Red Pump® (#RocktheRedPump) is the signature campaign that The Red Pump Project leads every year to commemorate National Women and Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), which is recognized annually on March 10.
The mission of the campaign is to start conversation and to motivate social media-savvy women to use their platforms to talk about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, specifically its effect on women and girls. We also ask ladies everywhere to rock their favorite pair of red shoes on NWGHAAD as a sign of solidarity with women who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. And that is EVERY woman. Because if it affects one of us, it affects us all.
Aside from our annual Rock the Red Pump social media campaign, Red Pump keeps the public up-to-date on events and HIV/AIDS-related news via our eNewsletter, various social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr), and through our blog.
In addition, Red Pump also organizes signature events to commemorate the major HIV/AIDS awareness days of the year such as:
- The Rock the Red Fashion Show
- The Red Pump/Red Tie Affair
- Say RED: Cocktails & Conversations
- Cupcakes & Condoms
- Behind the RED Curtains: Monologues on HIV
Education and community outreach are also important in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Red Pump participates in health fairs, panel discussions and community events focused on improving health outcomes. Our organization works tirelessly to build critical alliances with community agencies and faith-based organizations both in Chicago and nationally.
How We Began
In 2009, Karyn and Luvvie came together to devise a creative way to engage bloggers in recognition of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed annually on March 10th. They asked bloggers to “Rock the Red Pump” out of their desire to jumpstart important conversations on the issue of HIV/AIDS and the impact of the disease on women and girls. The call-to-action was a simple one:
“Rock the Red Pump on your blog to represent the strength and courage of women fighting HIV/AIDS or affected by the disease. We ask that on March 10, you embed the Red Pump Widget within your post with a short snippet of its significance, or you can rock the widget on your sidebar.”
The goal of that first campaign was to sign on 100 bloggers. On March 10, 2009, over 125 bloggers responded and “Rocked the Red Pump.” And, year over year, the campaign has continued to grow and gain national attention. In 2012, singer and activist Alicia Keys tweeted her support of the campaign.
The Red Pump Project has grown from a social media campaign to a national nonprofit working both on the ground and online to ensure that women are empowered with knowledge about HIV/AIDS and the issues surrounding it.