Divinah “Dee” Bailey is a proud native of the Bedford Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn, New York. Under the mentorship of her late father, “Dee” was empowered with the ability to assess and address the needs of her community. Through the years, she continues to distinguish herself as a dedicated fighter of human rights, a staunch advocate for upcoming leadership and a leader as it relates to the needs, health and welfare of the African American community.
Dee is most noted for her advocacy work, which includes being a District 65 United Auto Workers (UAW) representative for over 20 years. Throughout those twenty years, Dee served as chief negotiator for the UAW Security and Pension plan. She made her way to leadership by being an advocate and union organizer for union workers across the country. She is also known for her work with the New York City Central Labor Council (NYCCLC), the Technical office and Professional Unit of Columbia University, Herman’s World of Sporting Goods, Revlon Cosmetics, Michigan Municipal Employees along with organizing the St. Louis Shell Oil Boycott anti-apartheid demonstration.
Coordinated the 1983 National Transportation to the 20th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
Served as special detail coordinator for the Nelson Mandela visit to New York City, under the leadership of Mayor David Dinkins. It was then that she developed a working and respected relationship with the NYPD. A relationship that she continues to have over 35 years later.
Instrumental in the 1978 election of Rev. Wendell Foster, the first black elected city official in the Bronx.
Coordinated the Labor Day Parade for the NYCCLC.
Organized New Yorkers for Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988.
Today, Dee utilizes her skills and experience in organizing and advocating for leadership in in her role as Chief of Operations for the African American Clergy and Elected Officials Coalition (AACEO). The AACEO, was created in 1989 to produce and elect the Honorable David Dinkins, the first and only African American Mayor of New York City. Today, the AACEO serves as a liaison between the communities of faith at all levels of government, including but not limited to the City of New York, the State of New York, and Nationally with the goal of being a voice to the civic, community, governmental, public, religious, and other entities across the United States. The African American Clergy and Elected Officials Coalition (AACEO) continues to be the only organization in the state of New York where Brooklyn pastors, priests, ministers, elected officials and community stakeholders meet monthly to exchange information on community issues at all levels of government.
In 2009, Ms. Bailey founded Watchful Eye. Watchful Eye informs, coordinates and organizes the volunteer efforts of the indigenous black leadership in their local communities and across the nation to meet the challenge of fighting AIDS. As the founder of Watchful Eye, Dee continues to work tirelessly in educating local, state, and national elected officials, as well as, clergy and civic leaders around the issues of HIV/AIDS as it relates to Communities of Color.
Dee is well known for her passion when she extols the importance of HIV/AIDS education and the need to take the first step by “Getting Tested” and “Knowing Your Status”, an important message that she takes from the office to wherever she is seen.
Ms. Bailey has served as:
New York State Affiliate Director of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, where she worked with clergy, community stakeholders and elected officials in Buffalo, Albany, Poughkeepsie, Rochester and other counties throughout the state
Founding Chair of the Brooklyn United Community Coalition (BUCC)
Member of the Health and Social Services Committee for NYC Community Planning Board #3
Member of the Congressional Health Advisory Committee
Chair of the Brooklyn Linkage to Care Coalition Communications Committee (BLCC)
Executive Director of the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of New York City where she was instrumental in helping the New York City Council to create the “Communities of Color HIV/AIDS Faith Initiative”. Bringing millions of dollars in new HIV/AIDS funds to Churches, Community-Based Organizations and Community Service Agencies.
Member of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Brooklyn Knows Campaign Steering Committee.
Ms. Bailey has been the recipient of numerous awards for her tireless work as an advocate and a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Ms. Bailey has appeared on several radio and television networks and has interviewed with many media personalities. Some of her shining televised moments has been being displayed on national television wearing the HIV Red Ribbon during the 2016 Democratic National Convention and saluting President Bill Clinton with the AIDS signature pin during the 2005 “The End Of AIDS” CNN special, shown throughout 200 countries in the world.
Her passion has moved her towards developing new and innovative partnerships and initiatives such as the Red Ribbon Revitalization Campaign. The campaign is an ongoing initiative to encourage HIV testing, by having 8’X3’ banners that hang from flag poles, medical centers and colleges in areas hardest hit by HIV/AIDS. Dee has also built a partnership with the UniverSoul Circus, where she serves as Guest Ringmaster. Through this partnership Dee has delivered HIV/AIDS prevention messages, offered free health screenings, honored veterans and introduced community leaders and elected officials to audiences both young and old in cities where the circus performs.
Dee is most noted for her famous quote “It’s not a question anymore of who’s not doing what or how it happened. The question is what needs to be done… and doing it.”Above all, Dee is a proud mother and grandmother, and is considered a leader, confidant, mentor, friend and sister to all who have had the pleasure of her acquaintance.
Brooklyn is the most populous borough with 30% of NYC's population and the largest number of African Americans, women, adolescents and children living with HIV/AIDS.
We must continue to concentrate on Fighting the AIDS Epidemic. This cannot be done effectively by dividing up our strategies and action plans. We must draw some conclusions about what works and what does not, and move forward.
We are keeping a Watchful Eye on the high risk and low income areas associated with large numbers of infected individuals. We continue to monitor the treatment and care of persons living with the virus. With the number of HIV infections rising each year, we know that it would take every civic leader, elected official, and community stakeholder getting involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The initiative presents an opportunity to exhibit a holistic approach to providing education, awareness and capacity building.
For over thirty - seven years New York City, along with the rest of the nation, has been fighting a battle against HIV and AIDS. It is a daunting battle. It is a battle that requires the full collective dedication of those who have chosen to do this work. This battle can be won, but we must be smart, and work together should we hope to win.
Many tides have come and gone thus changing the landscape of this epidemic, but the epidemic has intensified, and so should our commitment. While leadership has changed, neither our fight, nor our mission has been altered. Nor shall they ever be. The battle continues and our strength has grown to epidemic proportions. I hope that you will join us in the unparalleled challenge to address the impace of HIV and AIDS in our community.