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The Red Pump Project

The Red Pump Project

The Red Pump Project™ raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Our mission is to promote HIV prevention through education, and open dialogue about the issues that surround sexual and reproductive health. We do work online and on the ground to motivate action and encourage dialogue about the effects of the disease.

Founded in March 2009 by Luvvie Ajayi and Karyn Watkins, Red Pump believes that if HIV affects one, it affects us all. We use the red shoe as a symbol of empowerment to represent the strength and courage of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The incorporation of fashion into the message of HIV prevention is our contribution as we hope to show that Awareness is Always in Style!™

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is March 10th every year, and there’s a whole lot of talking and educating happening all over the country in honor. That’s how The Red Pump Project was born… Out of our desire to get conversation started on the issue of HIV/AIDS and ask others to do the same. So we put out a call for bloggers to “Rock the Red Pump™.”

Our simple call to action started off with:

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Tuesday, March 10, 2009. It’s a nationwide initiative to raise awareness of the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women & girls and encourages ladies to take action. While progress has definitely been made in the areas of AIDS prevention and treatment, women still represent 27% of all new AIDS diagnoses, with African-American women accounting for 66% of that group.

In observance of this day, Karyn of The Fabulous Giver and Luvvie of Awesomely Luvvie came up with the idea of The Red Pump Project. The concept is simple: Rock the Red Pump on your blog to represent the strength and courage of women fighting HIV/AIDS or affected by the disease both directly and indirectly. We ask that on that day (March 10th), you embed the Red Pump Widget within your post with a short snippet of its significance, or you can rock the widget on your sidebar.

The goal of our initial campaign was 100 bloggers, but over 125 bloggers responded and “Rocked the Red Pump” on March 10, 2009. And, in 2010, the numbers doubled to over 250 sites.

The Red Pump Project has grown from a social media campaign to a national nonprofit working on the ground and online to ensure that women are empowered with knowledge about HIV/AIDS and the issues surrounding it.

The Red Pump Project aims to:

  • Commemorate major awareness dates with various events or campaigns online and on the ground
  • Partner with organizations doing work in HIV/AIDS in their initiatives and events around the country
  • Get women around the country to “Rock the Red Pump™” both online and on the ground
  • Be involved in getting 1,000 people tested nationally
  • Raise funds for HIV/AIDS service organizations

Read more about what we do.

Red Pump Year In Impact


Karyn Watkins and Lovette Ajayi - Red Pump Co-Founders

Lovette “Luvie” Ajayi

Luvvie Ajayi is a social media and web strategist, as well as a humor blogger over at Awesomely Luvvie. She’s passionate about social justice, is an admitted social media addict, a blogaholic and a lover of shoes. She combined all of these loves and co-founded The Red Pump Project with Karyn Watkins.

Luvvie is also on the Board of the Chicago Women’s AIDS Project, on the Blogger Advisory Board of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation, and serves as the technology chair for the Chicago chapter of the New Leader’s Council. Luvvie holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Illinois. When she’s not “Rocking the Red Pump” or blogging, she enjoys traveling and eating red velvet cupcakes.

I Rock the Red Pump™ because when HIV affects one, it affects us all. And red pumps are pretty fierce.

Karyn Brianne Watkins

Karyn is a passionate healthcare and nonprofit communicator focused on using new media to promote positive social and health behaviors. Her support of better health outcomes in her community led her to partner with Luvvie in creation of The Red Pump Project. “HIV/AIDS is almost entirely preventable. If we ever want to nip this disease in the bud, we need more initiatives focused on education and conversation.”

In addition to her duties as the co-founder of The Red Pump Project, she is the Founder/Editor of The Fabulous Giver, a website promoting charitable initiatives in the world of style, beauty and entertainment. Karyn is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and can currently be found volunteering, living, and laughing in Chicago.

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