Fighting AIDS in the Nation’s Capital

Fighting AIDS in the Nation’s Capital

A Washington, D.C. pastor and his church offer gay African Americans a message of acceptance and responsibility. (WP)

Bishop Kwabena Rainier Cheeks, founder of the Inner Light Ministries, is an AIDS activist who has been HIV positive for 25 years.

Though it might seem like a traditional black church, with fiery sermons, electric gospel music, a soulful choir and a congregation that sways and claps in rhythm, Cheeks’ ministry is hardly that.

For 16 years, it has served as a sanctuary for a small community of black gays and lesbians who say they feel shunned from all directions — by black men and women who give them cutting looks of disapproval, by mainstream black ministers who condemn homosexuality, and by white gays who make them feel unwelcome.

At Inner Light, members say they can be themselves.

CHANNEL: Washington Post

Length: 6:05

Video by Akira Hakuta