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Columnist Rev. Rea Lewis-Thornton
Rev. Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award winning AIDS Activist. She rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with HIV/AIDS in a cover story to Essence Magazine. In the past 20 years, she has traveled worldwide in an unending crusade in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
While Rae’s entire adult life has been in the service of God’s people, first as a national political organizer and now as an AIDS Activist, she accepted her call as a minister to the Gospel of Jesus Christ eleven years ago. She was licensed by the Reverend Dr. Clay Evans, founder and pastor emeritus of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, IL, in 2000. Rae was a Merit Scholar at McCormick Theological Seminary and received her Master of Divinity Degree in 2003. She was the recipient of the Arthur Hayes Fellow in Church History. She begun her Ph.D studies in Church History at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, in 2003. Rae was ordained by Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes in 2012.
Rae Lewis-Thornton has been featured in countless magazines, such as Glamour, O-The Oprah Magazine, Jet, Ebony, Woman’s Day, Emerge, Black Excellence, Heart and Soul, WOE, Poz, and The Crisis, as well as, many newspaper outlets. She has been featured on national television shows such as Nightline, Dateline, Black Entertainment Television (BET), The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the Montel Williams Show. She received an Emmy Award for an ongoing series of first-person news reports on her life of Living With AIDS, for CBS-Chicago.
Rev. Rae launched a line of fashion bracelets, RLT Collection, in 2009. Her handcrafted original designs can be seen on the wrists of celebrities, such as Sheryl Lee Ralph, Kim Coles, Dionne Warwick, Jennifer Holliday, Santiita Jackson, and even her Pastor, L. Bernard Jakes. Her exclusive web-store is www.rltcollection.com
Rev. Rae has become a pioneer in using Social Media to educate and challenge stigma around HIV/AIDS and to promote issues around self-love. Her integrated use of Social Media has gained her national acclaim. She was featured on BET News, and in a cover story for the Chicago Tribune that was picked up by the Associated Press.
Her award winning blog Diva Living With AIDS has had unprecedented success. www.raelewisthornton.com She won the CBS Most Valuable Blogger Award in Health and Wellness, in 2010, and the Black WEBlog Award in Health and Wellness, in 2012. Her blog receives approximately 30,000 views monthly. She can be found educating on Twitter daily @RaeLT and in 2010 she won the British Academy of Golden Tweet Award in Public Service.
Rev. Rae published her most recent book, The Politics of Respectability, in May 2012. She received the Distinguished Alumnae Award from her alma mater Northeastern Illinois University in 2011, as well as countless other awards for her work around HIV/AIDS. Rev. Rae Lewis-Thornton has lived with HIV for 29 years and AIDS for 20. She continues to use her life and story to enrich the lives of others. Rev. Rae proudly serves as on the ministerial staff at West Point Missionary Baptist Church, in Chicago, IL.