One of eight HIV/AIDS protest caravans
traveling to Oxford, Mississippi to meet at the site of the first
presidential debate is scheduled to cross the Brooklyn bridge and
enter New York City today. Hundreds of protesters are expected to
join the caravan as it makes its way to city hall, where leaders say
they plan to protest the nation's lack of a comprehensive strategy to
The event, called Stand Against AIDS,
is part of a larger demonstration taking place around the country
that started on September 13th, when eight regional
protest caravans began making their way to Oxford, Mississippi, the
site of the first presidential debate between Senators John McCain
and Barack Obama.
The Campaign to End AIDS, a coalition
of civil rights and religious organizations, is looking for pledges
from both presidential hopefuls to create a national plan to end
“We have no national AIDS strategy
plan,” said Campaign to End AIDS Spokeswoman Alice Leeds. “This
country has supported and given money to countries all over the world
to establish their own national AIDS plan, but we have none of our
A 172 mile march from Jackson,
Mississippi to Oxford in ten days features African-American civil
rights leader James Meredith. Meredith is best know for a 1966
Memphis-to-Jackson march to protest racism – March Against Fear –
where he was to walk alone for 220 miles, but was injured by a sniper
shot. Martin Luther King and other prominent leaders marched in his
place, and as the news spread, so did the protest; the crowd had
grown to 15,000 when it arrived at Jackson.
Meredith's march will converge with the
caravans at Oxford on the 23rd.
Today's New York City Hall event will
also highlight dramatic HIV/AIDS budget cuts in the city at a time
when new CDC statistics show that New York City's HIV infection rate
is three times the national average.
New York City organizations
representing various HIV/AIDS affected groups plan on participating
at the event, including Housing Works, Bailey House, Gay Men's Health
Crisis, and New York City AIDS Housing Network.
The Campaign to End AIDS says it will
present Senators Obama and McCain with information it is gathering on
what a national plan to end AIDS might look like.
“We've got to push the envelope, we got
to make sure that people with HIV/AIDS are heard,” Housing Works VP
of National Advocacy and Organizing Christine Campbell told On Top
Magazine. “We believe we can end this thing. We believe what
we are missing is the political will to make it happen.”
On the net: The Campaign to End AIDS