August 22, 2008
and other programs
The Black Men’s Xchange and dozens of other groups spoke out against AIDS cuts last week
On Wednesday Gov. David Paterson and the state legislature reached an agreement to slash $427 million additional dollars from the New York State budget—making cuts to AIDS funding, social services and other programs that will hit the neediest New Yorkers (without implementing a millionaire's tax or other more equitable solutions). For an in-development list of the cuts that most affect poor people and AIDS services, click here. For a list of all cuts, click here.
"We're outraged that once again it looks like the budget is cutting from the poor and sparing people who can afford it, people who make over a million dollars," Manuel Rivera, chairperson of the newly formed AIDS Budget Action Coalition (ABAC) said. "We're not talking about a job here and a job there. We're talking about real human lives, especially in the black and Latino community where this is an AIDS crisis." ABAC is a consumer-led group formed in response to the city and state AIDS cuts...
NO AIDS LOVE AT SADDLEBACK
A missed opportunity to chat about AIDS
AIDS advocates were excited when word came that Rev. Rick Warren would be interviewing presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. While some of Warren's views are a little too religious-right for our taste, Warren (with the help of his Saddleback megachurch) has been more committed to AIDS than almost any other public figure in the U.S. And it was World AIDS Day 2006 at Saddleback when Obama "respectfully and unequivocally" denounced abstinence-only HIV prevention policies. "We cannot ignore that abstinence and fidelity may too often be the ideal and not the reality—that we are dealing with flesh and blood men and women and not abstractions—and that if condoms and potentially microbicides can prevent millions of deaths, they should be made more widely available," Obama said at the time.
But while Warren alluded to PEPFAR at last Saturday's Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion, (in the context of creating a similar financial committment to help orphans), AIDS, and health in general, was MIA from the agenda. At the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City two weeks ago Warren specifically told Housing Works President and CEO Charles King he would ask at least one domestic AIDS question, and even gave King his direct e-mail address and asked him to suggest a question. "I am extremely disappointed that he did not follow through with his commitment," King said. "I fear we have lost our best opportunity to get McCain, in particular, to discuss AIDS, especially domestic AIDS, before the election."...
IN THE FAST LANE
Lane: stigma-fighter extraordinaire
This is the first in a series of Update profiles of men and women who will be leading activist caravans as part of the Stand Against AIDS, a multi-arm, multi-week advocacy roadtrip aimed at getting presidential hopefuls Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to commit to taking meaningful steps toward the creation of a National AIDS Plan within 100 days of taking office. The caravans kick off in mid-September and converge in Oxford, Mississippi on September 24 for three days of action. The first debate between Obama and McCain takes place in Oxford on September 26.
Although Quintara Lane, 21, has been HIV-positive since birth and taken medications her whole life, only recently has she experienced firsthand the patchwork nature of the U.S. health care system. After she took a job working part-time at University of Miami Hospital, she was cut off of Medicaid. "I'm going through a lot of problems, and I'm able to fight for what I need and what I want. But it shouldn't be a fight," she said. Lane is the East Gulf caravan leader for the Stand Against AIDS.
Lane's Medicaid troubles deepened her commitment to fighting for universal health care and a national plan to end the AIDS epidemic. "That we don't have a plan to end this disease after more than 20 years is uncalled for," Lane said. "We need to bring awareness to the presidential candidates that this is a really serious issue and it needs to be addressed."...
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Activists hold up a Housing Works shirt while demanding housing for people with AIDS at the IAC
The Update generally stays focused on budget cuts, protests, funding battles and other assorted AIDS-related news, so we don't often have a chance to tout Housing Works popular Thrift Shops, which earn some $12 million a year for Housing Works services for poor people living with HIV/AIDS. However, the recently relaunched Thrift Shops website ShopHousingWorks.com now sells incredible AIDS activist T-shirts and tote bags produced by Print Positive.
Print Positive started as a silk-screening project to teach job skills to Housing Works Job Training Program participants. It was so successful that Housing Works transformed Print Positive into its own business to raise funds for Housing Works services. Print Positive still employs our Job Training Program participants and graduates. When you buy one of our activists Ts or tote bags, you're not only sending a message that the fight to end HIV isn't over, you're helping people living with the disease.,,