Keynote Speaker Rev. Dr. William Barber II face emanates neon purple rays against a background of dark blue with dark teal concentric pentagonal shapes that subtly meet one another to create a cohesive pattern as they radiate out in to space. Race Forward Presents Facing Race: A National Conference.

In May 2014, Colorlines began our Life Cycles of Inequity series. Over seven installmants, we have explored the ways in which inequity shapes the lives of black men, from high school forward. This week, we conclude the series with a hard, but necessary conversation about mortality. 

The sad reality is that life itself is both raced and gendered in the United States. Black Americans overall die earlier than all other racial and ethnic groups, and the lifespans of black men in particular lag far behind that of the rest of the nation. Strikingly, that disparity most profound in our nation’s capital, where the racial gap in life expectancy is the larger than any state in the country. One reason for that depressing statistic in Washington, D.C., is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And in the video above, the final in our series, two HIV positive men living in D.C. share their own journeys and lessons on how to stay healthy and stay alive as black men. 

If you’ve not viewed our entire video series, we urge you to visit our Life Cycles of Inequity page, where you can view all of them. There, you can also dive into the investigations, infographics, essays and reportage that accompanied each installment. We developed this series as part of an ongoing conversation about our nation’s respect for the value of black life–not as the final word in that conversation. So we hope that the videos and stories we’ve published over the past year will fuel and inform you, as you carry this urgent conversation forward in your own communities.