amfAR Award of Courage (Honoring with Pride)
Honoring with Pride 2008 Honoree
Julie Davids is the founding executive director of the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP). CHAMP is a national nonprofit organization that is building a next-generation HIV/AIDS movement to bridge HIV/AIDS, human rights, and struggles for social, racial, and economic justice
Since its founding in 2003, CHAMP has built a strong national HIV prevention justice network linking women of color, gay men of all races, transgender people, current and former drug users, and youth—the very populations most at risk of HIV infection—along with other members of the AIDS service and advocacy sectors, in order to ensure the development and use of a broad and effective range of HIV prevention options, programs, and policies in the next decade.
Davids became an AIDS activist when she joined ACT UP Philadelphia as a college student in 1990, and remained an active member of the group until her relocation to New York City in 2003. In addition to campaigns on HIV prevention and access to care, she focused on HIV treatment research advocacy and served on the national community constituency group of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group from 1991–1993. Working with ACT UP on national efforts to lift the federal funding ban on syringe exchange, she also served on the board of Prevention Point Philadelphia, the needle exchange program launched by ACT UP Philadelphia in 1991, which went on to receive city sanction and funding.
Davids then began working with Philadelphia FIGHT, first as a volunteer doing data entry into the amfAR natural history database. She joined their staff in 1995 as the co-founder of Project TEACH (Treatment Education Activists Combating HIV), an innovative treatment education and advocacy program for people living with HIV. Over the next eight years at FIGHT, which grew to become the largest comprehensive HIV/AIDS organization in Pennsylvania, she also served as director of leadership development and advocacy.
After the untimely death of her mentor, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, in 2000, she served as director of the Critical Path AIDS Project, which he had founded. This group led advocacy efforts on HIV/AIDS treatment and research issues and continues to provide Internet services to low-income people living with HIV.
Davids is a founding member and former community organizer with Health GAP, which has successfully organized efforts to change U.S. trade and pharmaceutical industry policies that have blocked access to low-cost medication for people with HIV in poor nations and regions. She also served on the founding steering committee of the AIDS Treatment Advocates Coalition and the founding board of the Global AIDS Alliance, and is a co-founder of the International Rectal Microbicide Advocates.
Davids earned a B.A from Temple University and was a 2002–03 Charles H. Revson Fellow at Columbia University. She now lives in Providence, RI, where she serves on the board of the Providence Youth and Student Movement. She lives with her spouse, Liz Collins, and their cat, who is a native New Yorker.