2005 USCA Cancelled
September 23, 2005
Dear USCA Participant,
We have to cancel the 2005 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA); I am so sorry. Hurricane Rita, and the subsequent evacuation of Houston, has made it impossible for us to hold this meeting. Your safety and personal well-being are our paramount concerns. We do not know how quickly Houston will recover from the hurricane, and we did not want to take a chance. I hope you understand.
Unfortunately, we are unable to hold the 2005 USCA at a later date due to the lack of hotel and convention space in other cities. After Katrina, all the available space for a convention of our size was booked for meetings that had to be moved out of New Orleans.
Please share this message with your colleagues and let them know that they should not travel to Houston. An NMAC staff person will be onsite at the Hilton Americas Hotel to greet anyone who has not learned about USCA's cancellation.
As you can imagine, canceling USCA has many implications. Perhaps most upsetting is that we will not have an opportunity to bring together everyone fighting HIV/AIDS for much needed skills building and networking. This year, USCA was more critical than ever due to its updated agenda addressing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on HIV/AIDS organizations in devastated areas of the Gulf Coast.
After Katrina, we raised funds to bring 100 evacuees to this year's USCA. It was critical to bring the leadership from agencies in highly impacted regions together so they could plan their future. We will keep our commitment to these evacuees, and at a later date we will hold a small meeting so they can get together and plan the future. We will also offer this option to community based organizations impacted by Rita, although we hope and pray this will not be necessary.
We will keep our commitment make a contribution to HIV/AIDS organizations impacted by both hurricanes. However, given the costs of cancellation, it will be a more modest contribution. We will also make a donation to the three organizations selected to participate in this year's international plenary; however, we will have to wait until 2006 and give it to them during the next USCA.
In terms of refunds, we need you to submit a letter noting the amount that you paid, on your organization's letterhead and submit it to NMAC on or before October 7, 2005, 5:00 PM EST. Letters may be sent via fax: (202) 483-1127 or (202) 483-1135, or postal mail: National Minority AIDS Council; Attention: USCA Conference Registrar; 1931 13th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20009-4432. I apologize for the inconvenience; however, the letter is necessary for our records. You will receive your payment within thirty (30) days of receipt.
Canceling USCA has significant financial implications for NMAC. Putting on a meeting of this size entails many financial commitments. If possible, would you consider not applying for a refund of your USCA registration fee, but rather make it a donation in support of NMAC's work. We can write a receipt for your tax deduction.
As for hotel reservations, the Hilton Americas will refund room deposits; however, registrants must call the hotel directly at either (800) HILTONS or (713) 739-8000 to cancel their reservations 72 hours prior to their scheduled arrival date.
Again, we thank you for your continued support of USCA, and hope you will join us for next year's meeting, set for September 21-25, 2006, at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, FL. If you have any concerns or questions about our decision, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (202) 483-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul A. Kawata
This article was provided by National Minority AIDS Council. Visit NMAC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.