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The National Black Justice celebrates the life and mourns the loss of our brother, Ron Simmons, Ph.D.


NEW YORK In response to the passing of Dr. Ron Simmons, the National Black Justice Coalition released the following statements:

“Ron was one of the most knowledgeable, kind, and accessible professionals in the network who gladly took newcomers under his wing. He was so instrumental and welcoming to help NBJC navigate in the HIV education and awareness space. I valued his mentorship and friendship. A true giant has gone home to glory.”

—Sharon Lettman-Hicks, CEO, National Black Justice Coalition


“Ron was brilliant and giving. He always found a way to make you feel better about being Black—in whatever that meant to you. As a Black same gender loving man, I looked to Ron’s example. I am grateful for his mentorship and know his legacy will endure through the foundation he established for so many of us to continue to build upon.”

—David J. Johns, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition


Dr. Ron Simmons loved Black people—deeply, publicly, and without apology. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to Isaiah, a garment worker, and Duella, who was a factory worker, Dr. Simmons was voted Most Likely to Succeed by his High School classmates—they were right.  

A prolific speaker with an enveloping personality, Dr. Simmons was an educator, administrator, photographer, and an activist. Before retiring in 2016, Dr. Simmons served for 24 years as the president and chief executive officer of Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc., one of the largest Black gay AIDS organizations in the United States—this was a role he volunteered for.  

Us Helping Us advocated that people could live with AIDS if they adopted a holistic approach to their health that involved the body, mind, and spirit. Under his leadership, Us Helping Us became a free-standing mental health clinic providing HIV care services for men, women (both cis and trans), and youth.  

D. Simmons was inducted into the Black Gay Men Hall of Fame by the National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities, Inc., and selected by “POZ” magazine as one of the POZ 100 “most influential AIDS activists in the United States. He will be missed.”

Read more about Dr. Simmons and his legacy here:

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.