Jerry Hughes, Executive Director of The Hughes Foundation will be going back to India in the end of May for a three-week tour of education and inspiration. Mr. Hughes has been traveling to India and Africa annually since 2003 to support youth camps and schools. What changed for him in 2004, was the personal diagnosis of being HIV positive.
His first exposure to India was through the Billy Graham Crusade – which he worked for at the time in Amsterdam. Initially, his visits introduced him to leaders in both the Republics of India and Namibia. It was these friendships that opened doors for him to educate in the schools, businesses and medical communities once he diagnosed HIV positive in 2004. Although this sounds like heavy work, Jerry keeps a cheerful disposition and irreverent attitude toward his work.
As an openly out, gay, proud and christian community mover and shaker – he has seen his share of adversity. His early life included a host of experiences including living with an alcoholic parent, and life on the streets hustling. While the past has not always been an easy road for Hughes, he carries a very positive message in his work today. Tolerance is his civic call to duty and the personal message he shares is for people to “Love Yourself!”
Yesterday while many were demonstrating much needed visibility at the annual MN AIDS Walk, Jerry and I sat in the backyard chatting about everything from the notable absence of condom advertising in the United States to getting your freak on. Here is the show that is sometimes irreverent but intended to educate and uplift. Please remember that even if you took a moment off – as we did – from public AIDS awareness and advocacy, you can always contribute your time and resources year round to one of many hard working organizations like the Minnesota AIDS Project The Hughes Foundation.