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Stand Against AIDS kicks off in Jackson!

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On Saturday the Stand Against AIDS kicked off in Jackson, Mississippi! Here’s a rundown from Christine Campbell, Housing Works vice president of national advocacy and organizing:

Valencia, James Meredith and Eric Bailey

Valencia, James Meredith and Eric Bailey pre-walk

The Rally began a little after 10:00 am with an inspirational prayer from Rev. Charles King, continues with a stirring rendition of  “I Know Where I’ve Been”  performed by Pat Smith.  We next heard from Mr. James Meredith who shared with us the importance of the work we do and how the campaigns have neglected to talk about poverty.  He talked of how it was suspicious after The Stand was announced (most notably in an articleby Diana Scholl) that the focus of the debate in Oxford went from domestic policy to foreign policy. Mr. Robin Webb wrote a song “A Page In Time (I’m Gonna Stand)”  We had a moment to remember those who we know who have died with AIDS – writing their names that will be carried with them on the walk. Valencia Robinson closed talking about what the stand is about – list in the 5 demands and sharing the MS demands to be carried as a Message in a Bottle. We then sent the caravan on their way with the marching song “Aint gonna let nobody turn me around, Gonna keep on marching, keep on talking, marching to the end of AIDS”


Not three hours down the road was the caravan stopped by the MS Highway patrol telling them that they had to stop because they needed police escort. The Supervisor was called and was reminded that they had agreed to provide police escort and had backed out at 8:00 am this morning.  They also called the Sheriff of Flora who agreed to meet the caravan and escort them into Flora.  The ACLU stepped up to support the caravan with any legal issues that may arise – but the caravan is still moving!


As we arrived at the Atlanta Airport, we hear one of those vehicles beeping at us – “Keisha”, a Delta employee,  is trying to get our attention – She tells us she is very aware of AIDS issues and want to get involved. She wears her AIDS awareness bracelet all times.  She gives out condoms to her friends and was concerned about the stigma around getting tested. Charles gives her an America has AIDS button . I give her my card with the promise that she will e-mail me on her break so that I can connect her with places like SisterLove in Atlanta.


As we are coming off the plane, a gentlemen from the Red Cross came up to us telling us how they are trying to get more into HIV/AIDS work – specifically testing.  He was connected with a friend who received a grant from Bill Gates and was interested in seeing what we could do together


While the caravaner were about 9 miles from Flora, some of us stopped at a Burger King.  As the caravan went by, he came out and asked us what was going on.  We described the Stand Against AIDS was and he really appreciated what we were doing.  He talked about the connection between Hepatitis and HIV and really got the connection between poverty and HIV/AIDS.


Written by standagainstaids

September 16, 2008 at 7:19 pm

One Response

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  1. I work at Whitman-Walker Clinic where I’m the Food Bank Coordinator they aare close the Food Bank at end of DECe I been the Food Bank for over nine year is so sad to see this have been

    Keith Holder

    September 18, 2008 at 9:31 pm

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