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Friday, September 21, 2018
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Panelist Bio


Rev. A.J. Johnson
CEO/Founder, Baton Rouge AIDS Society

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.

Current Topic


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?
In 2017, Louisiana’s legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which sought to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. The bill was championed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and received bipartisan support including from community and business leaders. Now, just over a year later, the legislation has become a political football. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator John Kennedy, both Republicans considering a run against Edwards in 2019, suggest that the reform package is a failure. They cite murders committed by two inmates released since the Act’s implementation.

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? Has the legislation put more residents in harm’s way or are plea deals part of the problem?

Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Revisiting Reform” Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.

Our panelists are:
• E. Pete Adams, Executive Director, La. District Attorneys Association
• Alanah Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana & Justice Reinvestment Task Force
• Andrew Hundley, Louisiana Parole Project
• Sec. Jimmy LeBlanc, La. Department of Corrections

The program features interviews with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry; Rep. Terry Landry, D- New Iberia, with the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Council; Deputy Assistant Secretary Natalie Laborde, with the Louisiana Department of Corrections; and Stephanie Riegel, editor of the Baton Rouge Business Report.

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and professor Robert Mann with the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication host the show.

Louisiana Public Square 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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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     10/18 - Louisiana Veterans Back Home

What are the programs and initiatives helping our veterans successfully transition to civilian life?

Recent Topics


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?
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