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Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA) -- New National Mobilization

July 31, 2005

The Campaign to End AIDS, which is planning five days of action in Washington, DC, from October 8th to 12th, has launched an ambitious grassroots effort to revive American AIDS activism by building solid networks in every state and U.S. territory. With demands for universal treatment and services, science-based HIV prevention, more research and an end to stigma, C2EA argues that the world finally has the tools to stop the epidemic - but that those in power lack the political will to make these tools available to people who need them. In the works for October are rallies, lobbying visits, a national organizing summit, a concert on the Mall, and a prayer breakfast.

Seven playfully self-titled caravans will travel to the nation's capital, including the Heart O' the Land Caravan starting in Oakland, the Nor'easter from New England, the Tropical Storm out of Miami, and Paving the Way, whose participants will be walking from New York City. Valerie Jimenez, Paving the Way coordinator, expects at least 100 to brave the entire 21-day hike, plus as many as 1,000 at a time to join up for a day or two between cities, where marchers will demonstrate to draw attention to issues affecting local AIDS communities. Hawaii organizers will hold a PBS telethon October 1, complete with hula dancers, to raise money for airfare to LA, where they'll meet up with the Enchantment Express to drive across the country.

The campaign has directed new energy to enlist faith groups. "A Baptist church in an African-American community just outside Mobile, Alabama, will be hosting a caravan and holding a prayer service," says Charles King, C2EA co-chair and the CEO of New York City-based Housing Works. "That's just one example of the churches, which would not traditionally have been seen as a natural alliance for LGBT communities, that have strongly come on board."

In June, about a hundred young people (ages 16 to 26) converged in Denver for C2EA's Youth Action Institute to hone their skills for hometown advocacy and meet others doing the same work. "There were young people from Mississippi and Tennessee who feel so isolated in their communities, but who are very experienced organizers," says Sam Sitrin of ACT UP Philadelphia. Julie Davids, C2EA steering committee member and Nor'easter co-coordinator, urges older folks to join C2EA and become mentors. "This is an unprecedented opportunity to pass on a legacy to the next generation of the AIDS movement," she says.

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To get involved, you can register online at www.CampaignToEndAIDS.org or call 1-877-END-AIDS. You can also contact the field organizer who is coordinating the caravan stopping in a town near you. Their names and email addresses are listed below (reformat the email addresses as needed -- we had to disguise them from spam robots, before publishing online). Click on "caravans" on the C2EA website to see the map showing their routes.

Tropical Storm (departing from Miami and stopping along the East Coast and the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware): Yocasta Juliao, yocastajuliao at aol dot com.

American Heritage (departing from Portland, Oregon and stopping in Boise, Des Moines and other points along the upper Midwest): Sean Barry, spbarry at gmail dot com.

Northern Tier (departing from Seattle and stopping in Minneapolis, Detroit, and points far North): Sean Barry, spbarry at gmail dot com.

Soul of the South (departing from Brownsville, Texas, and stopping in Louisiana, Mississippi, the Florida panhandle, and other southern locations): Larry Bryant, larrybryant_1 at msn dot com.

Waves (departing from San Diego and stopping in southern Arizona, New Mexico, northern Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia): Larry Bryant, larrybryant_1 at msn dot com.

Heart O' the Land (departing from Oakland and stopping in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia): Cedric Smoots, cedricearlsmoots at sbcglobal.net.

Enchantment Express (departing from LA and stopping in Las Vegas, Flagstaff, northern New Mexico, the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Richmond) Cedric Smoots, cedricearlsmoots at sbcglobal.net.

Paving the Way (departing by foot from New York City and stopping in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, and Maryland): Valerie Jimenez, jimenez at housingworks.org.

Nor'easter (departing from Burlington, Vermont and stopping in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, western New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland): Sonny Suchdev, sonny at champnetwork.org.

Washington, DC Kaytee Riek riek at housingworks.org.

Note (JSJ): See The Economist, July 16, 2005, "The Glue of Society" for an overview of what is happening in voluntary associations; it's in a separate "A Survey of America" section. C2EA is the kind of organizing needed -- with local groups and personal involvement, not just a national office where people send checks.


ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2005 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.




  
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This article was provided by AIDS Treatment News. It is a part of the publication AIDS Treatment News.
 

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