The Center for Black Equity (CBE) is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Ron Simmons. Dr. Simmons served as the executive director of Us Helping Us – People into Living for more than twenty-five years. During his time at US Helping Us, Dr. Simmons took a small fledgling nonprofit organization and built it into one the major forces of change on behalf of Black gay and bisexual men living with HIV/AIDS not only in the Washington, DC metropolitan area but throughout the United States and beyond. Under his leadership, Us Helping Us gave voice to the healthcare and HIV prevention needs of Black gay and bisexual men who continue to carry the disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS.
One of Dr. Simmons greatest contributes to our community was his mentorship of scores of Black gay and bisexual men, particularly youth, as well as allies of all genders and races. He introduced the concept of Pan Africanism as a professor at Howard University to his students and to numerous community activists. Dr. Simmons held a vision for people of African Descent where our people would be reliant on the skill sets within our community while looking towards Africa, the Motherland, for spiritual guidance and inspiration.
Dr. Simmons did not become rich from being a community activist and running a nonprofit. His influence, vision and dogged determination to build a holistic health community has positively enriched the lives of thousands of people around the globe. He leaves behind many friends, family and colleagues, and a grateful community.