Courtesy of RipplePHX, June 2018 Issue.
RipplePHX, a new Valley-based HIV/AIDS education and prevention project, is making waves this spring.
Co-founded by Jeremy Bright and Jason Jones, RipplePHX officially launched as the beneficiary of the 2018 Tito’s Handmade Vodka’s Sexiest Bartender Contest, which will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. June 3 at Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Airport, 2333 E. Thomas Rd. in Phoenix.
“We’re excited to unleash an incredible amount of creativity and leadership from within our community to engage younger audiences around HIV prevention,” Bright, who is also an Echo Magazine Hall of Fame inductee. “Establishing an authentic rapport with community members to self-navigate services and encourage mass participation with self-efficacy were essential components in the early successes of Phoenix grass-roots organizations. We’ll continually focus to bring innovative and exciting approaches from within the community to lessen the impact of HIV in each of our lives – regardless of status.”
With impact-focused splashes of awareness, love, and celebrations of gender and sexual expression, you’ll find RipplePHX popping up throughout Phoenix beginning in June with mobile outreach units called “PODs,” which are rolling units made from frosted acrylic, dripping in rhinestones, and lit from floor to ceiling with rippling water lights designed with a boldness to pull HIV-related stigma into the light and tackle it head-on.
According to a May 12 press release, the outreach units will be loaded with game-changing advances in HIV prevention, treatment and testing, delivered with innovative content and staffed by friendly, well-known faces from the community.
“You’ll see that the secret’s really in the sauce,” said Jones, who also serves as RipplePHX’s board chair.
Additionally, RipplePHX has assembled a board of directors that is reflective of the community, including people who are living with HIV, PrEP users, or others at-risk for HIV, to engage in genuine, authentic conversations within their community.
“Everything is built with a strong love for the people in our community,” Jones added. “It’s a back-to-grass-roots project that is packed with passion at its core.”
The RipplePHX Team will also maintain an active community advisory board to ensure programs are created with direct community input and delivered in-line with communities at greatest risk for contracting HIV.
“We can absolutely lessen the impact of HIV in our community, but a big key to that is being progressive and coordinated with a variety of great approaches and representation,” Bright added. “We’re looking to the original heroes who made an unforgettable impact on the AIDS crisis of the ’80s and ’90s to celebrate and modernize those efforts. Their passion for their community is what made the difference then, and it’s where we’ll maintain our foundation. We’ll do it from our hearts and with complete acceptance for our community.”