ACT UP / ASBURY PARK    UPDATE     January 2007


We would like to inform you that the new (HIV/AIDS) The Center is now in operation.

It is located at 806 Third Ave in Asbury Park. Besides offering a daytime program for clients complete with free daily lunches, monthly pantry, hygene, and laundry vouchers, it also offers financial assistance to those with HIV who are in need.The Center now also boasts 25 brand new living units for those with HIV who are presently in precarious housing or are homeless. So far 8 slots have been taken.

ACT UP ASBURY should be very proud of the hand we played in making this new Center a reality.We were very instramental in helping to get the Center approved after years of planning resistance from the Zoning Board.

We would like you to know that the new Center offers a beautiful courtyard complete with a waterfall and pond. There is currently a program by where anyone can donate a permanant brick which will be placed in the courtyard. This is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or a friend. The cost is 100.00 and of course the donation goes towards maintaining The Center.For more information please call The Center at 732-774-3416

Please note that ACT UP ASBURY no longer has a mailing address. Please use the emaili address instead.

Currently there are no regular meetings scheduled. However, If you are interested in having an update meeting or action please e- mail us back.

If you know of anyone else who would be interested in being added to this list or if you would like to unsuscribe please let us know.

         Hope you are all well.

       – KEVIN RUSSELL    ACTUPASBURY@emailaccount.com


Remember there are still people dying
and new drugs that are way too expensive yet to be approved.

Silence (still) = Death


Older News:

May 15, 2004

ACT UP ASBURY PARK CONDEMS THE TRICITY NEWS AND ITS COLUMINIST TOMMY DESANO FOR KNOWINGLY PRINTING FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT AIDS IN ASBURY PARK!
HERE ARE THE REAL FACTS:


Eighty percent of Asbury Park is comprised of African Americans

African Americans are being infected at 7 times the number of whites especially in blighted drug challenged areas with inferior school systems like Asbury Park’s.

33% percent of Asbury residents who showed up as positive through anonymous testing never came back for the results!

Almost two-thirds of people infected with the virus don’t even know they are!

Asbury Park is at least 10% recent gay homeowners from other cities, which statistically means that up to 30% of that population alone is infected. Most were diagnosed and still receive treatment in NYC meaning that they are not a listed HIV statistic of Asbury Park.

Young gay men are now being infected with the virus in alarming numbers and are not counted in Asbury’s statistics

Our local council members have remained completely silent about the AIDS crisis in Asbury Park. They did not show up for the city sponsored annual AIDS Walk nor THE CENTER Walkathon simply because the virus is mainly affecting blacks whom they have no interest in serving.

March Demonstration photograph:


ACT UP HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR MORE THAN 17 YEARS AND HAS BEEN CREDITED FOR ITS DIRECT ACTION IN EDUCATION, FASTER APPROVAL OF MEDICATIONS AND TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT AIDS!

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN!

DON’T ALLOW YOUR CHILD BECOME A LOSING STATISTIC BECAUSE OF A LOCAL GOVERNMENT WHO DOESN’T CARE.    DON'T  BE  SILENT!      

GET INVOLVED !
ORGANIZE AND ELECT A NEW COUNCIL AND SCHOOL BOARD NEXT YEAR.

ACT UP     FIGHT BACK     FIGHT AIDS !

REMEMBER THAT  SILENCE EQUALS DEATH .

JOIN  ACT UP/ASBURY.

email us at  actupasbury@emailaccount.com



Asbury Park's Support for Gays Doesn't Extend to Blacks and the Homeless

Published in the Asbury Park Press 3/19/04

By KEVIN RUSSELL

Now that all the brouhaha over gay marriage in Asbury has died down, it might be a good time to put the recent Asbury Park City Council's actions into perspective. I am just as happy as the rest of the gay community about the recent marriage of Louis Navarrete and Ric Best. I am very proud of them.

What I am not proud of is the shameless, election-year posturing of the City Council. For two years, while some of us gay men with AIDS were trying to get a shelter built and were going through torturous hearings at the Zoning Board of Adjustment, not one council member spoke publicly on our behalf. They were legally free to do so. At the zoning meetings, prejudices were flying and misstatements such as "Oh my God! Are there people with AIDS walking our streets? Is the disease airborne?"

Councilman John Loffredo stayed silent publicly during these hearings while privately assuring white, healthy, gay homeowners that it would not pass. Councilwoman Kate Mellina, who recently proclaimed on ABC News that she was elected to serve all of her constituents, including gay people, was silent. This goes for the rest of the council as well.

Give the council a popular issue like gay marriage, however, in this "progressive" city and you will find the members stepping all over each other and proclaiming that they will even donate their salaries for the cause.

While the council was posing for the media, I was attending a meeting on the neglected, other side of town, along with 40 other social workers, town officials and clergy trying to figure out a way to handle the ever-burgeoning homeless problem that we all want solved. There was no press there, no cameras rolling. So, of course, we had no help from the council. Where were the council members who boast that they are serving all the residents, namely the other 90 percent of the community and 60 percent who are simply living day to day.

After the meeting, we came up with a fledgling working plan. It seems that the issue is going to rest on the shoulders of already overworked social workers and clergy.

The council has loudly proclaimed that it is for gay rights. There's an asterisk, however. It is for healthy, preferably white, gay male homeowners. The rest of us with AIDS and in precarious housing are left to fend for ourselves.

Asbury Park may have the proud distinction of being the first town in the state to conduct a same-sex wedding, but its residents should know that it also has the shameful distinction of being one of the first New Jersey cities sued for having been in contempt of the Americans with Disabilities Act. One person on the zoning board took it upon himself to disregard the ADA and vote "no" on the AIDS housing issue, knowing that it would go straight to court, based on the blatant discrimination documented in the zoning board's transcripts.

What the council wasn't counting on was that The Center was going to file the suit in federal court. In the end, the council hurriedly settled, knowing it would lose on the ADA alone, not to mention multiple state and municipal housing ordinances. It decided not to embarrass the city further, but not before wasting another $90,000 on The Center's attorney's fees that they are now responsible for.

All week long, I, along with other dedicated volunteers, serve more than 800 citizens with food supplements, 80 percent of them Asbury Park homeowners and residents. A lot of them simply do not have the resources to make it through an entire week. A lot are senior citizens, many also from the neglected west side of town. Our church and many others help residents not only with food but also with emergency rent or utility payments. Trinity Church is located right on Asbury and Grand avenues, but I've never once seen a council member come over to see what we were doing or offer support.

It's automatically assumed that all homeless are "worthless drug users." I can't argue with that mentality in a secular setting, so I won't. I work in a church, so my values are different. I don't expect a government to embrace them. What I do expect of my government is to be treated with respect, dignity and representation.

At Trinity, we have been seeing increasing numbers of "ex-yuppies" who are stunned that they have lost their jobs (post 9/11) and are embarrassed that they are resorting to a food bank to get by. A lot of these residents could never admit to their neighbors, let alone their local government, that they are resorting to charity. The council could know what I know if it took the time to see how the other half is living.

Kevin Russell is coordinator of the anti-hunger program at Trinity Church in Asbury Park
.

Mayor and Council
Asbury Park NJ 07712

March 11, 2004


Dear Mayor and Council

I find it appalling that the mayor and council for the last week have been stepping all over themselves to be on camera in support of gay rights marriage when having completely neglected for a year and a half saying anything publicly about supporting the AIDS HOUSING CENTER which also would be supporting gay men.

I realize that next year is an election year and certain pandering to the gay white, healthy, homeowner population is a smart move politically. I find it shameful, however that Councilwoman Mellina has offered to put her past council savings pay towards an attorney to help fight for gay rights. I also heard her on ABC news claiming that she was elected to serve all of her constituents including those who are (moneyed) gay.

It would have been a nicer and nobler gesture if she would have made that same offer to the CENTER, or to the Trinity Food Bank where I serve over 800 citizens a week with food (we are in desperate need of contributions). It would have been nice to hear her say that she is also just as interested in the other citizens of Asbury Park. But unfortunately, a lot of those don’t vote and there are no cameras covering the issues of low-income who, quite frankly, are more interested in putting food on their tables and shelters over their heads than with voting.

But its Councilman Loffredo I am most disappointed with as he could have been very vocal and helpful all during the contentious zoning board CENTER meetings in a lot of ways if he had chosen to – especially before the lawsuit when he-and the rest of the council were free to talk. The only contribution the Councilman has made was recommending the most vocal critic of the CENTER to be appointed to the Zoning Board! Councilman Loffredo may be openly gay like I am, and supportive of gay marriage as I am, but he certainly hasn’t representing me and the rest of the less well gay or straight community.
.

Yesterday I attended a city sponsored meeting on the homeless issue with 40 other social workers and clergy, while the council members were still participating in photo ops (except for the none-too-helpful Councilman Hamilton). The homeless issue has been one we’ve all been wanting to solve but you wouldn’t know it by the lack of the council’s presence.

I am writing this letter, as I can not attend Wednesday’s night meeting because of an anti-hunger meeting at my church. I would like it to be read into the record.

Excuse me if I can’t come out and show my support for gay marriage, because as a gay man with AIDS I am just hoping to be alive for the future right to marry – no thanks to the Council.

Yours truly,

Kevin Russell
Coordinator: Anti-Hunger Program
Trinity Church
Asbury Park, NJ 07712


Cc: Asbury Park Press
The Coaster
TriCity News
New York Times
Star Ledger





VICTORY!


ACT UP ASBURY PARK is pleased to announce that the proposed 25 unit AIDS housing that was voted down by the Asbury Park Zoning Board has been overturned by a federal judge under The American With Disabilities Act.

This is a great victory for our local AIDS center that already provides daytime service to countless clients in the Asbury Park area. Among services that are already provided are referrals to helpful agencies, a food bank, a hot lunch program Mon-Fri, as well as significant financial assistance.

Act up Asbury Park was instrumental in the judges ruling by participating in the federal lawsuit against the city. Our goals now are to keep the pressure on and make sure that the city and county will not block the building of the housing in any way and to be on watch of any type of AIDS discrimination in the future.

We will be keeping the pressure on by newspaper advertisements stating who we are and building membership rolls.


Our e-mail is actupasbury@emailaccount.com

Donations and members are still needed!




 [ sorry about the all-caps formatting ]

 

ASBURY PARK CITIZENS!


DID YOU KNOW THAT THE CITY OF ASBURY PARK IS IN CONTEMPT OF THE FOLLOWING BY DENYING HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WITH AIDS?

THE FAIR HOUSING ACT OF 1968
THE NJ LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION
THE MUNICIPAL LAND USE ACT
THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

FATHER BOB KAEDING LOBBIED SUCCESSFULLY FOR A FEDERAL GRANT OF ONE AND A QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS ALONG WITH A 725 THOUSAND DOLLAR MONMOUTH COUNTY GRANT TO CONSTRUCT A 25 UNIT HOUSING CENTER FOR PEOPLE WITH AIDS.

FOR A YEAR AND A HALF THE CENTERíS PLANNERS CONSTANTLY MODIFIED THE ZONING BOARDS DEMANDS ABOUT ITS STRUCTURE. EVERY DEMAND WAS MET. THE RESIDENCE WOULD EVEN PROVIDE ALL OF ITS OWN SERVICES THERFORE NOT BEING A BURDEN ON THE CITY.

AFTER EXHAUSTING ALL ARCHITECTUAL MEANS, THE BOARD FRUSTRATED, FINALLLY CAME CLEAN AND VOTED NO SOLELY ON THE FACT THAT SOME OF THE CENTERíS RESIDENTS COULD BE FORMER SUBSTANCE ABUSERS. NO OBJECTION WAS MADE TO GAY WHITE MEN AS POTENTIAL RESIDENTS.

THE ZONING BOARD CHAIRWOMAN THE NIGHT OF THE VOTE WHO VOTED YES STATED IN THE TRANSCRIPTSîÖIíM REALLY SADDENED BY SOME OF THE COMMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE BY BOARD MEMBERSÖWHATS HAPPENING IS THAT WE ARE GOING BACK TO USING CODE WORDS FOR PARTICULAR GROUPS OF PEOPLEÖI THOUGHT THIS WAS DONE WITH WHEN I WAS YOUNGî.

THE CITY OF ASBURY ALREADY STATED IN ITS MUNICIPAL CHARTER THAT HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WITH AIDS IS NEEDED IN THIS, A CITY WITH THE LARGEST PER CAPITA CASES OF AIDS IN THE STATE.

THE CITY COUNCIL OF ASBURY PARK ADOPTED A RESOLUTION ON SEPTEMBER 5, 2001 ENDORSING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CENTER!

A ZONING BOARD MEMBER ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED IN A MANNER THAT WAS OPENLY HOSTILE TO THE CENTER AND TRIED TO SOLICIT PUBLIC OPPOSITION TO THE CENTERíS APPLICATION. ALSO ILLEGAL!

DO YOU WANT TO LIVE IN A CITY WHERE PEOPLE ARE OPENLY DISCRIMANATED? NEITHER DO WE. TALK TO YOUR CITY OFFICIALS. DEMAND THAT THEY SETTLE THIS MATTER BEFORE IT COMES TO COURT AND EMBARRASS US EVEN MORE. - BECAUSE WE CARE!



ASBURY AND MONMOUTH COUNTY CITIZENS!

THE ABURY PARK ZONING BOARD VOTED NO ON AIDS HOUSING COMPLETELY FUNDED BY THE THE COUNTY AND FEDERAL GOVT.
THEY DO NOT WANT PEOPLE WITH AIDS IN ASBURY PARK.

THEY ARE IN CONTEMPT OF THE AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES ACT AND WILL SOON BE FORCED TO COMPLY.

THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN – ESPECIALLY IN ASBURY PARK.

WE HAVE FORMED A NEW CHAPTER OF ACT UP CALLED ACT UP ASBURY.

WE WILL NOT TOLERATE ANY FORM OF DISCRIMINATION BY OUR LOCAL ASBURY ZONING BOARD AND ITS CITY OFFICIALS WHO STOOD BY IN SILENT COMPLICITY.

WE POINT SHAME THAT ONLY ONE CITY COUNCILPERSON THOUGHT THE ANNUAL ASBURY WORLD AIDS DAY WALK TO BE WORTH ATTENDING.

TWENTY YEARS AGO IT WAS GAY WHITE MEN WHO WERE SUFFERING AND DYING FROM AIDS WHILE THE GOVERNMENT DELIEBERATLY TURNED ITS BACK. THOUSANDS DIED.

ACT-UP NEW YORK WAS FORMED TO AGITATE USING EVERY MEANS POSSIBLE TO MAKE THE GOVERNMENT LISTEN.

ACT-UP FORCED GOVERNMENT AND PHARMACUETICAL LEADERS TO RESPOND BY MEANS OF DIRECT ACTION.

ACT UP ASBURY WILL DO THE SAME! BEWARE PUBLIC OFFICIALS! WE WILL BE WATCHING YOU… WE WILL NEVER BE SILENCED.

t actupasbury@emailaccount.com



BACKGROUND ON ASBURY PARK HOUSING CENTER


FR BOB KAEDING SUCCESSFULLY SOLICIITED ALMOST TWO MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL AND COUNTY FUNDS, AFTER THE CITY COUNCIL OF ASBURY VOTED UNANIMOUSLY, GIVING HIM PERMISSION.

PLANS WERE SUBMITTED TO HAVE THE CENTER BUILT ON THE ALREADY EXISISTING AIDS CENTER. EVERY REQUEST MADE BY THE ZONING BOARD HAVING TO DO WITH APPEARANCE, SECURITY, SERVICES WAS MET BY THE HOUSING ARCHITECHS

IT BECAME CLEAR HOWEVER ,FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF A PROTACTED YEAR OF MEETINGS THAT THE KNIT-PICKING WAS SIMPLY BECAUSE SOME OF THE RESIDENTS WHO WOULD BE IN NEED OF THE FACILITY, WOULD BE FORMER SUBSTANCE ABUSERS, AND A FEW MEMBERS OF THE ZONING BOARD EXPLICITLY STATED IN THE TRANSCRIPTS THAT THIS WAS THEIR SOLE REASON OF OBJECTION.

AS EVERY OTHER STRUCTURAL REQUEST OF THE ACTUAL BUILING WAS MADE WITH NO OBJECTIONS, IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT THE CITY OF ASBURY IS IN CONTEMPT OF THE MUNICIPAL CHARTER (ALREADY AGREEING THAT SUCH HOUSING WAS NEEDED) THE NJ FAIR HOUSING ACT, THE MUNCIPAL LAND USE ACT, AND THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, WHICH IS WHY THE LAWSUIT IS NOW IN FEDERAL COURT.

ALL TRANSCRIPTS OF THE MEETINGS ARE ON FILE WITH THE CENTER AND THE ZONING BOARD AND THE CONTACT HAS A COPY AS WELL (contact is also a plaintiff)

AS THE CITY IS DELIBERATLY STALLING IN RESPONDING , WE THE CONCERNED CITIZENS OF FAIR HOUSING FOR ALL, ARE APPLYING PRESSURE BY THIS MARCH.

THERE IS A GREAT RENASAINCE GOING ON IN ASBURY PARK AND WE THINK IT SHOULD INCLUDE PWA, WHO ARE ONLY ASKING FOR TWENTY-FIVE HOUSING UNITS.

KEVIN RUSSELL   actupasbury@emailaccount.com

 






posted with the support of

ACT UP/New York

www.actupny.org