It's a major election year again, and AIDS Survival Project's participation in Atlanta's Pride Celebration, June 25-27, will be focused on our "Remember Them With Your Vote" campaign. This is a heartfelt way to honor those who have gone before us and an inspiring way to encourage people to make their voices heard on crucial issues by exercising their right to vote. You can be a part of this important action by sending us your photos of friends and loved ones who have died of AIDS. We will have these pictures reproduced, enlarged and mounted on placards that will also display, on the opposite side, the "Remember Them with Your Vote" logo. These placards will be used in the annual Pride Vigil on Friday night, June 25, in our booth in the Pride Market, where we will be providing opportunities for people to register to vote, and in the Pride Parade, Sunday, June 27. We hope you will join us in the parade, carrying the photo placard of your loved one and showing our strength in numbers as we take a stand in the upcoming elections for appropriate funding and public policy to meet the needs of the continuing epidemic. (Transportation will be provided for those who cannot walk the parade route.)
You can bring hard copies of your photos by our offices or send them through the mail to Rob Nixon, Pride Photos, AIDS Survival Project, 139 Ralph McGill Blvd, Suite 201, Atlanta GA 30308-3339. You may want to make duplicates of your photos before doing this; although we will handle them with the greatest care and respect, these are your precious memories and we don't want anything to happen to them. If you call (404) 874-7926 ext. 16, we can also arrange a time for you to come by and allow me to scan the photo while you wait.
It's also possible to send electronic copies of the photos (JPG or TIF format) as e-mail attachments to me at RNixon@aidssurvivalproject.org. It's relatively simple to scan a photo into an electronic file (if you don't have a scanner, ask someone to help you or go to a photo or copy shop). Because of the nasty viruses and worms going around online, please be sure you put "Remember Them photos" in the subject line and identify yourself in the body of the e-mail.
Although this is a touching tribute to those who have died, we hope you'll think of this not merely as a mournful commemoration, but as a strong, loud and stirring call to action. AIDS advocates have expressed extreme concern with the proposed funding levels for HIV/AIDS programs in the president's fiscal year 2005 request, released February 2. If funding levels are not increased, we must expect continued waiting periods for services and the possible discontinuation of some services in the community that are deemed less essential due to funding constraints. There are indications that due to the lack of public outcry, the administration assumes the lack of increased funding is acceptable. So pick your issue -- the war in Iraq, gay marriage, the economy, the very vital needs of people living with HIV/AIDS -- whatever your issue, it's clearly urgent that people go to the polls this year. You can help get out the vote and do great honor to those you remember and love.
Volunteers are needed for all aspects of Pride 2004: assisting with the Vigil, helping set up our booth and registering people to vote in the Pride Market, putting together vote placards and being part of the AIDS Survival Project contingent in the parade. Contact Jeff Smith's for more details about how you can join us for this fun weekend at JSmith@aidssurvivalproject.org.