The New York City AIDS Housing Network is very proud once again to participate in C2EA. Our demands to the next President of the U.S.A to develop a National Aids Strategy is the right thing to do. The Stand Against AIDS 2008 is important to us because we have over 3800 members who “LUST ” for an end to this epidemic.
I am an original C2EAer and I still have quite a bit to say… but, in a nutshell, since we’ve left New York – everywhere we’ve gone – we’ve met new family members and the love is growing! We have to get the word out and stop the stigma. We need to let them know that there is life after HIV. However, we still need to END AIDS!
It touched me to see that we are touching people and people aren’t running away from us anymore. There isn’t as much stigma, denial, and fear. You don’t have to be infected to be affected and now that is better understood since movements like the Campaign – we reach directly out to communities and tells them that we care about them. The caring and sharing today in Baltimore has superceded any of my expectations and NOW I believe that 10 years ago was much different – and communities can start understanding… let their voices be heard and be able to make a change.
- Amos Hough, Black People Inc.
My experience the C2EA so far has been delightful and education. Being a transgender and coming on this trip.. I was a little leary, but I was greeted the moment I arrived and I felt like I was home. I was treated with respect. We started off with a rally in New York City, that had me really going. I learned a lot at that rally. When we arrived in Philly and I met Waheeda Shabazz-El from CHAMP/Act-UP Philly – we were greeted with happiness, smiles, hugs and LOVE. We are being treated like we need to be treated, like family. I have gained good insight in working with AIDS. Being on this trip has made me realize I want to continue doing this work. The road trip being on the road was great (drawing on the van things like “HONK to STAND AGAINST AIDS” – and people actually HONKED. When we arrived to the Church in Washington DC, we were given hugs, food and shelter. I’m very grateful that God has given me this opportunity and I hope to have more great experiences like this first couple of days on the road.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the need for a national AIDS strategy. But what exactly would go in such a strategy? Well, I’m sitting in a barn outside of Oxford, MS with over 60 people that traveled here from around the country who are talking about just that. After a morning of affinity group meetings (such as transgender, youth, women, faith-based, harm reduction and more), the groups are reporting back what on what they–we–need in a national AIDS strategy.
Just a few of the things we need are:
* A campaign against homophobia
* Research for women with HIV
* Prevention for 50+ year-olds
* Housing for all
* Latino communities–recognize barriers: language, religions
* Include discordant couples in the NAS–recognize challenges to prevention–expand access to relevant prevention strategies
* Post-incarceration reentry services
* Leadership composed of PLWHA
* Awareness made for young people that really reaches young people
And the list goes on and on… I count 11 sheets on giant flipchart paper on the walls here! I hope they post the full list online soon!
Even though McCain might be MIA in Oxford Friday (still unclear), the Stand Against AIDS will continue to be very present calling on the next president to have a National AIDS Strategy.
Today there was a powerful rally again at the town square in Oxford with representatives from all the caravans sharing their stories. A reoccurring theme was that even with Medicaid and Ryan White which is supposed to be the safety net, there are still way too many people who don’t have medical care and are dying of AIDS.
In the afternoon,, some C2EAers staged an impromptu rally to take advantage of the press coverage that has descended on Oxford. Then everyone relaxed at a bbq in a beautiful park. Dazon Dixon Diallo organized a Southern women’s affinity group to allow people to tell their stories and share what is needed for a National AIDS Strategy before tomorrow’s session.