September 12, 2008
STAND AGAINST AIDS IN NYC
Walk against AIDS!
Want to participate in the Stand Against AIDS, but can't make it all the way to the group's big Mississippi shindig later this month? You're in luck! Next Thursday, September 18 at 1:30 p.m., the Stand Against AIDS Northeast Link Caravan will lead hundreds of AIDS activists in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to a rally at New York City Hall.
As hopefully you know by now, the Stand Against AIDS is a multiweek effort of the Campaign to End AIDS demanding that presidential hopefuls Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama commit to creating a national plan to end AIDS with in 100 days of taking office. Nine caravans of AIDS activists are traveling across the country to make their demand in person at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi on September 26....
THE LATEST ON CMS
Baucus & Co. need to get the CMS rule delayed!
Both New York AIDS advocates and New York state employees continued their fight this week to delay the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation that could cripple health care access for poor and disabled people—including tens of thousands living with HIV/AIDS—in 18 states who rely on outpatient Medicaid care.
The New York State Department of Health has been in regular contact with CMS; the latest from one insider is that CMS officials are receptive to New York's deep concerns about the regulation, which would reduce payment for outpatient Medicaid services to lower Medicare rates. The source speculated that there is only a "30 percent chance" that the White House's Office of Management and Budget will actually move forward on the CMS regulation...
PATERSON SUCKS BLOOD?
demand meeting with Gov
Activists Lolisa Gibson and Finness Smith-Purnell imitate Paterson
HIV up! Budget down! Body bags rising! The Gov's not around!" screamed more than 50 activists outside Governor David Paterson's Manhattan office Wednesday, as they threw down black bodies bags reading "Killed by Inaction," and "Budget Cuts Kill." The rally was intended to keep Paterson on the hook for irresponsible cuts to HIV and hepatitis C in the state budget in August, and demand a meeting with Paterson. Aides to the Governor, Carl Andrews and Marco Carrion, said they would get back to activists within 20 days about the possibility for an open forum with the governor.
"It's the first small step of the giant steps needed," said David Golden, a New York City AIDS Network (NYCAHN) board member. Members of CitiWide Harm Reduction and Voices of Community Advocates and Leaders (VOCAL) were also in attendance, some dressed as vampires, in a symbolic gesture of Paterson as a "bloodsucker." Monday, Paterson took heat for calling New York legislators the same thing...
Fields, Long and Collins
More than 80 people gathered at the New York City LGBT Community Center Wednesday night to discuss the movement to implement a National AIDS Strategy. Organized by the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), the forum highlighted both the growing momentum around the idea of a National AIDS Strategy (NAS) as well as the numerous obstacles to putting one in place. The sticking points? Who will have input into the NAS and what the NAS will actually look like.
"Do I think there should be a National AIDS Strategy? I do. Did I sit in a room during the Clinton administration for three days [working to draft one]? I did. Do I want to do it again? I don't," said panelist A. Toni Young, of the Community Education Group in Washington, D.C. Other panelists included Chris Collins, the author of Blueprint for a National AIDS Plan, C. Virginia Fields, executive director of NBLCA and Charles Long, of the New York City AIDS Housing Network....
Fordham (at AIDS Watch 2008 )
This article is one of 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 road trip aimed at getting presidential hopefuls Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to commit to taking meaningful steps toward the creation of a National AIDS Strategy within 100 days of taking office. The caravans kick off in mid-September and converge in Oxford, Mississippi on September 23 for four days of action. The first debate between Obama and McCain takes place in Oxford on September 26.
In Virginia, AIDS is often the "pink elephant in the room," said Greg Fordham of Norfolk. "No one wants to talk about it, but sooner or later you're going to step on it." In Gastonia, South Carolina a woman told him that "if you come here talking about HIV, people will walk out."
But attitudes like this make Fordham all the more determined to step on that elephant—and to lead the Stand Against AIDS caravan. Beginning with a town hall summit in Norfolk on September 19, the caravan will travel from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to Oxford starting the next day...