Podcast: Featured Guest Jesse Brooks

Original Air Date: July 9, 2012

Photo Jesse BrooksJesse Brooks was featured in a new two-hour FRONTLINE documentary which aired on PBS July 10th at 9pm. This groundbreaking film called ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America explores one of our country’s most urgent, preventable health crises and uncovers the truth about how and why HIV is so much worse in black America. It reveals how prejudice, silence and stigma have allowed the virus to spread deep into the black community. Jesse is one of the people who will share his story in the film.

Jesse Brooks was born in Los Angeles, but claims Oakland as his home-town, living there most of his life. School President of his class, Jesse graduated from Oakland Technical High School and was a member of the National Guard in Fort Dix, New Jersey from 1981 to 1983.

Through all of his accomplishments, he struggled with many internal battles including drug addiction and acceptance of his sexuality. Having overcome a drug addition, come to terms with his sexuality, and accept that he is HIV positive, Jesse now uses his voice to educate Oakland’s urban communities. He was campaign spokesmodel for: “HIV Stops with Us” 2006 campaign, “I Choose to Disclose” 2008 campaign, and was on Billboards in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland for the Aids Healthcare Foundation (the Magic Johnson Clinic).

For three years, Jesse has been a journalist for the Post Newsgroup, the largest African American paper in the Bay area reaching 50,000 readers weekly, writing columns about AIDS in The African American community.

Obtaining a certification and degree in Paralegal studies, Jesse is always at the forefront of events pertaining to HIV/AIDS, lobbying on Capitol Hill, rallying at protests, public speaking at numerous churches, universities, and events. He was a featured speaker at The National Minority AIDS Coalition’s annual conference in 2009. In 2010 he received “The Pioneer Award,” given to people who are making a difference in their community. His 30 minute docu-drama “The Ceremony,” played at the 2006 Black LGBT Film Festival.

Jesse was part of “The Cornerstone Theater Group” of Los Angeles performing short plays inside Santa Rita Jails to educate inmates about HIV/AIDS in 2010.

He chairs and sits on many boards that focus on decreasing health disparities in the African American community including:

  • the Bay Area Regional African American HIV/AIDS State of Emergency Coalition,
  • the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies Advisory Board., & Policy, Education and Review Committee, Alameda Planning Council
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