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Legislative Strategies for Fighting HIV Criminalization

June 10, 2014

Attendees at the 2014 HIV Is Not a Crime conference were treated to a refresher on how a bill becomes a law by no less a classic teacher than Schoolhouse Rock!, the animated musical educational short film series. Jon Hoadley, Vice President of CARES, an HIV/AIDS service organization in Michigan, and Jirair Ratevosian, Legislative Director to U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), moderated the session, where attendees also heard about the progress of the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act (RHIVDA), which would mandate a review of federal policies affecting HIV criminalization.

Threase Harms, President and CEO of Advocacy Strategies, guided the preparation of "elevator pitches" targeting state and federal elected officials. Each participant in the training session created a pitch that quickly outlined who they were, what organizations they represent, what issues they care about and the change they want the official to support. Then, they got to try them out on actual Iowa state legislators -- one playing the role of a "friendly ally," and the other feigning disinterest.

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