Local and Community News
New York City: Arrests in AIDS Rally; 30 Charged as Activists Decry Proposed Budget Cuts
May 15, 2003
Thirty people were arrested yesterday in New York as hundreds of AIDS activists protested City Hall's proposed cuts to housing and other services for people with HIV/AIDS. Demonstrators shouted "Bloomberg, billionaire! People with AIDS, he don't care," as 19 men and 11 women linked arms and charged up the City Hall steps, blocking the building's entrance. Police arrested these demonstrators on charges of disorderly conduct.
Advocates held the rally to protest a series of cuts proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In the city budget that starts July 1, the mayor seeks to cut $18 million from the HIV/AIDS Services Administration by shifting its case management work for 30,000 people to community-based organizations -- groups that the activists say are overwhelmed and have no experience in case management.
Bloomberg is calling for a 10 percent reduction in housing benefits for 4,000 people with AIDS who now receive them. Activists fear the $4.8 million cut would lead to more infected people becoming homeless. Bloomberg also wants to dismantle the Mayor's Office of AIDS Policy and Coordination and subsume that staff under the city Health Department. Advocates say the move would make it harder for them to keep track of how funds are spent.
Just two months ago, the mayor repeatedly assured community leaders that case management services were secure, said Joe Pressley, executive director of the New York AIDS Coalition. "The mayor basically lied to our community," Pressley told demonstrators. But Pressley added that AIDS advocates were still open to a discussion with officials, saying: "Let us know what's going on. We are the experts. We're not going to take these changes lying down."
Newsday (New York City)
03.15.03; Margaret Ramirez
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.