Rev. A. J. Johnson is the CEO and Founder of the Baton Rouge AIDS Society (BRASS). BRASS provides HIV testing and training services to over 5,000 individuals within the state of Louisiana on an annual basis with special emphasis on the Greater Baton Rouge area. This includes prisons, churches, schools and the general population. BRASS is the only agency that offers rapid testing 24/7/365 that provides testing for a fee by an experienced counselor at a time and location that is best for the client.
During his fight against HIV/AIDS, Rev. Johnson has served as a Disease Intervention Specialist with the Office of Public Health and Hospitals and the Assistant Executive Director of Friends for Life AIDS Resource Center. In 2013, Rev. Johnson was appointed by the governor as a member of the Louisiana Commission on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis. He has worked with the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region II Board of Directors and was recently elected to represent Baton Rouge on the Statewide HIV Community Planning Group.
He is a certified HIV Counselor by the Louisiana Office of Public Health Department of Health and Hospitals & Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a certified instructor through the Louisiana Department of Education, a certified Social Change Researcher through the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, a certified leadership instructor through the Kellogg Foundation and a certified HIV/AIDS instructor for Basic HIV/AIDS Information and African American HIV Training through the National Red Cross Association.
Rev. A.J. Johnson, a native of New Orleans, moved to Baton Rouge in December of 1995. In 1998, he decided to respond to the unmet needs of HIV/AIDS education within the Baton Rouge community by founding the first minority AIDS Servicing Organization (ASO) in the city, BRASS. For two years, the organization survived in the second bedroom of A.J.’s two bedroom apartment. In 2000, A.J. received his first major grant from the Office of Public Health to provide FREE HIV Counseling and Testing, Street Outreach, Condom Availability and Community Outreach services. As-of-date, the organization continues to be funded by this state office.
In 2005, BRASS received a grant from the Office of Minority Health to manage a Faith based AIDS Coalition for Technical assistance and Services (FACTS). Twelve churches were selected to participate in this three year funding period. In addition to the 12 churches, BRASS has 46 churches in the Baton Rouge and surrounding areas that are part of their Faith Based Initiative (The FBI).
With the support of his family, wife-Gabrielle Johnson and daughter-Jazmine Johnson, he is able to serve as an educational and motivational speaker at various local, regional and national events.
What difference has a decade made?
Due to severe flooding in Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities, the recording of “Black & The Blue,” which was to be the August episode of Louisiana Public Square, was cancelled. Instead we will be broadcasting an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference.” More information, including broadcast dates and times, is below.
“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference”
Eleven years ago, Hurricane Katrina swept through Southeast Louisiana, triggering what would become the nation’s costliest disaster. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita inundated Southwest Louisiana forever altering the landscape. The storms uprooted residents, while the rest of Louisiana and its neighboring states welcomed them with open arms.
What affect did the storms have on economic development along the I-10 corridor? Just over a decade later, how have public services changed? How prepared is Louisiana to handle hurricane evacuees? And how did the hurricanes change the demographics of the state?
This month Louisiana Public Square takes a look at where the state is now on an encore presentation of “Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” airing Wednesday, August 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 21 at 11 a.m. on LPB HD.
The panelists are:
· Andy Kopplin, Office of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
· Paul Rainwater, Rainwater Consulting, LLC
· Stephanie Riegel, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
· Nihal Shrinath, The Data Center
The program includes interviews with Jason El Koubi, One Acadiana; Chris Guilbeaux, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP); Kathy Kliebert, Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals; Allison Plyer, Executive Director of the Data Center; John White, State Superintendent of Education; and Christopher Bohnstengel and “Byrdie” Lane, owners of Byrdie’s Gallery and Café in New Orleans.
LPB CEO, Beth Courtney, and Kim Hunter Reed,Ph.D., who served in the Blanco administration during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, moderate the discussion.
“Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference” will also air in New Orleans, on WLAE. It can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.
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