RALLY & LOBBY
APRIL 10th, 2002 _______________________________________ ACTION REPORTS BELOW
die from AIDS each day worldwide with no access to medicine.
Demand $2.5 billion for the Global AIDS Fund.
Drop the debt. Medication for every nation.
FIGHT AIDS IN AFRICA and WORLDWIDE
In the midst of a global health
disaster, our nation's leaders have failed to
commit the modest resources needed to stop the decimation of impoverished nations.
This rally, initiated by Health GAP, ACT UP Philadelphia, ACT UP New York, Artists for a New South Africa, and Jubilee USA brought people with HIV and their loved ones, religious leaders, students, activists and celebrities to the steps of the Capitol to act in solidarity with people worldwide confronting the growing AIDS epidemic.
People with HIV worldwide are leading the charge to save their communities, their families, and their nations. We can not allow the United States to continue to deny meaningful resources to these struggles.
We were at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 10 from our different communities, faiths, and backgrounds to unite in the call for our country to fulfill the international request for modest resources to fight the escalating global AIDS epidemic.
Yes, modest resources. For while our nation prepares to pass a fiscal budget in the tens of trillions of dollars, and an emergency supplemental resolution adding multi-billions of dollars to this year's budget, we are asking for just 750 million of that supplemental resolution to be added to the crucial battle against the global AIDS pandemic.
To do so would begin to address the drastic gap in funding needed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
To do so would begin to close the shameful worldwide gap that exists in access to life-saving therapies that have improved and extended the lives of people with HIV in the United States.
To do so would firmly acknowledge that our nation has a vital role to play in stemming this epidemic, which is stripping this planet of young and working people, parents and children, and leaving nations vulnerable to destabilization, violence, and even greater poverty and hunger._
As we planned this event, we considered periodically ringing a bell to mark each death from AIDS during the time of our rally. Then we did the math.
This is not a periodic ringing. It is a metronome of overwhelming and absolutely unneccessary suffering and loss. We can allow the bell to toll, or we can demand change.
photos compiled from Jubilee USA
DAY OF HOPE: FIGHT AIDS IN AFRICA AND WORLDWIDE
Rally and Protest
12:30-2:00 PM West Capitol Steps (Washington monument side of Capitol Building) * More than 1,000 people with AIDS and their allies demanding life-saving action on global AIDS from Congress and the Administration converge on the Capitol for a spirited, powerful RALLY. Please note: new location (West side of the Capital) instead of east side of capitol -- we are too large to get a permit on the east steps!) copy and post action flyer.
Time: 2:00-5:00 PM * Activists, celebrities, and health experts will educate Congress about global AIDS crisis at their Congressional Offices to demand legislators take the action needed to save lives. These post-rally lobby visits will be an opportunity to show our power and breadth to key Members; they will not be long, technical meetings. The emergency supplemental will soon start 'mark-up'. The appropriations battle will begin in earnest. The Kerry-Frist bill will be dropped. The Helm-Frist amendment will be fleshed out. The Global Fund's Technical Review Panel will have completed its recommendations to the Global Fund Board. The Global Fund will soon make its final funding decisions. The second half of April is the key time for global AIDS this fiscal year. If we can get more money into the GFATM in April, then we will have turned a real corner this year. To do this, we need your brains and bodies in the streets and halls of congress on Wednesday April 10.
see also: http://www.healthgap.org and http://www.stopglobalaidsnow.org/
ACT UP New York ~ ACT UP Philadelphia ~ Health GAP Coalition ~ Artists for a New South Africa ~ Jubilee USA
50 Years Is Enough Network, Washington DC
Abibimman Foundation, Tema-Ghana
ACT UP/Cleveland, OH
ACT UP/ DC
ACT UP/East Bay, CA
ACT UP/Los Angeles, CA
ACT UP/Paris, France
AFL-CIO, Washington DC
AIDS Foundation of Chicago, IL
AIDS Health Care Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
AIDS Survival Project, Atlanta, GA
AIDSmeds.com, Brooklyn, NY
ActionAIDS, Inc., Philadelpia, PA
Africa Action, Washington DC
African American AIDS Policy and Training Institute, Los Angeles, CA
Association Laafi la Viim (ALAVI), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Association Marocaine de Lutte Contre le Sida (ALCS), Casablanca, Morocco
AXIOS Eastern Orthodox LGBT Christian AIDS Ministry & Network, NYC, NY
Bisexual, Lesbian, and Gay Organization of Students at Howard (BLAGOSAH), Washington, DC
Boston Global Action Network - Africa AIDS Project, Boston, MA
Bread and Roses Community Fund, Philadelphia, PA
Call To Action of Michigan, Washtenaw Branch, Ann Arbor, MI
Center for Economic Justice, Washington, DC
Center for Independence of the Disabled in NY, Brooklyn, NY
Community Health Media Trust, Cape Town, South Africa
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Washington, DC
Critical Path AIDS Project, Philadelphia, PA
Drug Policy Forum Tri-State, Philadelphia, PA
Essential Action, Washington, DC
Espoir de la Famille (Family's Hope), Porto-Nove Benin, West Africa
Florida AIDS Action, Tampa, FL
Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR), Brooklyn
François-Xavier Bagnoud (AFXB), Sion, Switzerland
François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) India, New Delhi, India
Gay Men's Health Crisis, NYC, NY
Global AIDS Action Network
Global AIDS Alliance (GAA), Washington DC
Global Initiative on AIDS in Africa, Washington, DC
Global Campaign for Microbicides, Philadelphia, PA
The Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Green Party
Housing Works, NYC, NY
International AIDS Empowerment, El Paso, TX
International Action Center, NYC, NY
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO), Toronto, Ontario, Canada
International Socialist Organization, Washington DC
Investing in Our Neighborhoods, Inc., Philadelphia, PA
Jubilee South Africa
KAIPPG/International, Barrington, RI
Kakwa Biofarm International, Buckeystown, MD
Lambda, Community College of Philadelphia's Lambda Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
Milagro Foundation, San Rafael, CA
Mobilization Against AIDS International, San Francisco, CA
National Organization for Women, Philadelphia Chapter, PA
National Pride At Work, AFL-CIO and DC-Baltimore Pride At Work, Washington, DC
New York State Independent Living Council, Albany, NY
North Coast HIV/AIDS Coalition, Cleveland, OH
Northwest Coalition for AIDS Treatment in Africa (NCATA), Seattle, WA
Oxfam America, Boston, MA
Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women, Philadelphia, PA
POZ Magazine, NYC, NY
Project Inform, San Francisco, CA
Queers For Racial & Economic Justice, NYC
Rainbow Flags for Mumia, NYC
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), Washington, DC
RESULTS, Washington, DC
SPEAKOUT Project, Portland, Maine
Society for the Advancement of Women, Lilongwe, Malawi
Society of Missionaries of Africa, Justice and Peace Office, Washington DC
Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII), NYC, NY
South Africa Development Fund, Boston, MA
The Southern Africa Network of AIDS Service Organisations (SANASO), Harare, Zimbabwe
STOP AIDS NOW! / Aids Fonds, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Student Global AIDS Campaign, Cambridge, MA
Temple Covenant of Peace, Easton, PA
The Title II Community AIDS National Network (TII CANN), Washington, DC
TransAfrica Forum, Washington, DC
Treatment Action Group (TAG), NYC
United Methodist Board of Church and Society, Washington DC
Vermont Justice of the Peace, Burlington, VT
Washington Office on Africa, Washington DC
The Women's Collective, Washington, DC
WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life Threatening Diseases), Oakland, CA
Youth Health Empowerment Project, Philadelphia, PA
DOWNLOAD PDF FLYER: Day of Hope Flyer
ACT UP / Jubilee USA / Artists for a New South Africa / Health GAP
For Immediate Release: April 4, 2002
(contact info at end)
AIDS Activists, Danny Glover, Rep. Barbara Lee Rally at Capitol
Against Global AIDS Disaster; Demand Congress Donate the Dollars,
Treat the People, and Drop the Debt
12:30 PM: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2002 * WASHINGTON DC
(Washington DC) 1,000 people with AIDS, public health experts, religious leaders and other activists, joined by actor Danny Glover and Rep. Barbara Lee, will rally at the Capitol steps April 10, 12:30 PM. The demonstrators will carry a giant alarm clock, declaring that "time is up" for Congressional action to stop the global AIDS catastrophe. Activists are calling for immediate increases in money from Congress for affordable AIDS treatment and prevention in developing countries, where 95% of people with HIV live. Activists are also calling for new action from Congress on debt cancellation for countries hardest hit by AIDS.
"Every day Congress sits on its hands is another day that we do not prevent the deaths of 8,000 men, women, children from AIDS," said Sharonann Lynch of ACT UP New York and Health GAP. "The epidemic of untreated HIV disease is transforming entire countries in Africa into massive graveyards."
The rally comes just before a vote is expected in Congress on the President's emergency supplemental budget request. Activists are demanding Congress amend Bush's request to include $750 million for the new Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).
The GFATM has already received $5 billion in 5-year funding requests from poor countries, but has only $800 million on hand to spend. Two weeks after the rally, the GFATM will meet in New York City, where the Board will determine for the first time which funding requests will be turned down due to insufficient contributions from rich countries like the U.S.
President Bush has requested only $200 million for the GFATM in 2003-less than the U.S. contribution for 2002, and less than the cost of making the movie Titanic. "For two decades, U.S. policy on global AIDS has been primarily one of neglect. Our inaction has lethal consequences," said Sharon Gelman, executive director of Artists for a New South Africa. "We're the richest country in the world. Thus far, we've been unwilling to spend the money needed to turn this crisis around and make treatment available to our fellow human beings in poor countries. The AIDS pandemic is destabilizing the economies and societies of sub-Saharan Africa and soon in other regions. The U.S. must give its fair share-not to do so is inhumane and the results, unthinkable."
Adequate funding for the GFATM is widely seen as the best hope for significantly increasing access to life-extending medicines in poor countries, where treatment is most needed, yet priced out of reach. Activists are also calling on Congress to spend $2.5 billion for 2003 on combating global AIDS, with at least $1.3 billion going to the GFATM.
As proportion of wealth, the U.S. has been less generous than all other country contributors to the GFATM -- including least developed countries like Rwanda. "Right now the GFATM is too starved for funds to accomplish its goals," said Paul Davis of ACT UP Philadelphia and Health GAP. "Unless Congress turns Bush's stingy 2003 budget request into the $2.5 billion experts agree is the U.S. fair share, 2003 will be another year of business as usual -- another 3 million dead from AIDS."
"Congress must fight for debt cancellation to save lives," said Mara Vanderslice, spokesperson for Jubilee USA Network. "Despite limited debt relief, over half of African countries are still spending more on their debts than on health care." African nations are estimated to spend $13.5 billion each year servicing debts. Much of those funds could be used for critical HIV treatment and prevention efforts.
Hundreds of organizations and activists are calling for:
* President Bush's emergency supplemental request to Congress must be amended to include $750 million for fiscal year 2002 for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
* Congress must appropriate $2.5 billion in new money for global AIDS for fiscal year 2003: at least $1.3 billion for the GFATM, mostly for HIV treatment programs.
* 100 per cent debt cancellation from the World Bank and IMF to free up resources for HIV treatment and prevention. When the World Bank asks Congress for funding this year, U.S. money should be conditioned on support for complete debt cancellation and an end to World Bank economic policies that restrict access to health care, education, and clean water.
Contact sponsoring organizations for more information: Health GAP (Global Access Project): Paul Davis: 215.833.4102 mobile ACT UP New York: Sharonann Lynch: 212.674.9598 tel / 917.612.3058 mobile ACT UP Philadelphia: Asia Russell: 215.474.9329 tel / 267.475.2645 mobile Artists for a New South Africa: Sharon Gelman: 310.204.1748 tel / 310.779.3346 mobile Jubilee USA Network: Mara Vanderslice: 202.783.0129 tel / 202.255.6380 mobile
AIDS Activists Rally at U.S. Capitol
Wed Apr 10, 2002 5:19 PM ET
by Julie Rovner
WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - Hundreds of AIDS (news - web sites) activists descended on Capitol Hill Wednesday in an effort to urge Congress to provide more money for the global fight against HIV (news - web sites)/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
"The drugs work. We can save lives. What we need is the money," physician Alan Berkman told a rally on the Capitol lawn that also featured members of Congress and actor Danny Glover.
"There are 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS across the globe--95% of these people have no access to the high-cost medications that have made HIV a manageable illness for many in wealthier countries like the United States," said Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (news - web sites). "If we fail to do it, God will hold us accountable."
The activists came to the Capitol to ask lawmakers to include $750 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis in the supplemental spending bill for the current fiscal year scheduled for a vote in the coming weeks. President Bush (news - web sites) included no request for more money in the mid-year bill.
Activists also want $2.5 billion more for the fund included in the spending bill for the fiscal year that begins October 1. Deliberations on that measure will begin sometime this summer.
Amidst chants of "medication for every nation," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) told the rally, "$750 million is a pittance for the wealthiest country in the world." Added Lee, "As we fight terrorism, we must also fight this pandemic."
Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA) said that the global AIDS epidemic is the greatest emergency facing both the nation and the world. "Every 2 days in Africa, more children die of AIDS than died on September 11," he said.
U.S. Activists Demand More Funds
To Combat AIDS
by Alison Raphael, OneWorld US, Thu Apr 11, 2002
With a rallying cry of "Donate the Dollars, Treat the People, Drop the Debt," public health experts, religious leaders, and AIDS (news - web sites) activists gathered Wednesday to demand that the United States Congress increase its contributions to a global fund aimed at combating the spread of AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, and eliminating the debt burdens carried by some of the poorest African nations.
"We are asking Congress and the President to take the appropriate action, nothing more," said actor and AIDS activist Danny Glover from the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. Wednesday. "In the face of unprecedented disaster we call on you to put life above profit. It's about moral action," he added.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, created by United Nations (news - web sites) Secretary General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) last year, has received US$5 billion worth of requests for help but has less than $1 billion at its disposal. To help reduce the shortfall, AIDS activists want Congress to add $750 million to an emergency supplemental budget request under consideration by Congress this week.
According to activists--who also want Congress to significantly raise the Bush administration's 2003 budget request for the Fund from $200 million to $2.5 billion--the need for greater funds is most evident in Africa, where many countries lack the resources to buy life-prolonging medicines. More than 15 million people have died from AIDS on the continent, and more than 90 percent of new cases are occurring in those aged under 15.
Uganda has reduced HIV (news - web sites) prevalence from 30 percent to below 10 percent by taking an aggressive approach and investing in improved treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, giving pregnant women a drug that prevents mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and expanding testing for the virus, said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Microsoft CEO Bill Gates (news - web sites) in an opinion article carried by the Los Angeles Times April 7.
"The more we realize that pennies a day can save millions of lives, the more we should insist that the world's wealthiest nation continue to increase its health aid and take a lead role in ending this disease," Carter and Gates argued.
One reason that AIDS continues to hit Africa so hard, activists argue, is that the World Bank (news - web sites) and International Monetary Fund (news - web sites) continue to collect large debt payments that leave poor countries with few resources to devote to buying medicines, expanding healthcare, or educating their population about AIDS prevention.
"Every dollar spent on servicing the debt is a dollar not spent on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention," noted Mara Vanderslice of Jubilee USA, which advocates bold debt relief for the world's poorest countries. The group cites progress in the battle against AIDS in countries such as Uganda, Malawi, and Cameroon which are part of a World Bank debt-reduction plan that leaves them with more funds to invest in a broad range of health programs - from training new nurses to promoting behavior changes.
While most senators support an increase of $700 million for the Fund this year, and another $2 billion in 2003, Republican Senator Jesse Helms--who has recently taken an interest in AIDS, apparently as a result of talks with U2 rock star Bono--would like to increase U.S. AIDS funding by only $500 million and make it contingent on raising matching funds from the private sector.
Decisions on numbers and whether any increase should go directly to the Fund or to programs sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development are up for debate this week during Senate discussions on the supplemental budget request.
Referring to the lower level of funding being offered by the U.S, Glover told a cheering crowd, "If your neighbor's house is burning down, you don't hand him a cup of water. You help him put out the fire. America must not be a nation of passive onlookers; we must not remain silent when 8,000 people are dying everyday from an illness that can be treated."
Kaiser Network ~ Politics &
Activists, Legislators, Actor Danny Glover Rally at U.S. Capitol for Increased International HIV/AIDS Funding
Actor Danny Glover, lawmakers, religious leaders and hundreds of activists yesterday afternoon gathered on the west lawn of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to demand that Congress amend President Bush's emergency supplemental budget request to include an additional $750 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Susannah Hunter, Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/10). They also called on Congress to approve an additional $2.5 billion for international HIV/AIDS programs for the fiscal year 2003 budget and to demand that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund cancel all debt owed by developing nations to free up money that could be spent on HIV/AIDS programs (Rally release, 4/4). The rally, which was co-sponsored by ACT UP/New York , ACT UP/Philadelphia , Artists for a New South Africa , Health GAP and Jubilee USA, featured speeches by ANSA founder Glover and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa). "AIDS has become a manageable disease for many people with HIV who are fortunate enough to live in the United States and other wealthy countries. But there are 36 million of our brothers and sisters on the other side of that divide -- in Africa, Asia and Latin America -- who are dying needlessly. We cannot accept that, so we stand here together, calling for the resources to fight AIDS around the world," Glover said. "Increased funding for programs to fight HIV/AIDS in the international community also benefits our nation," Lee said, adding that the AIDS epidemic "has become a pressing national security issue as well as a moral and humanitarian crisis" (Hunter, Kaiser Daily HIV/AI DS Report, 4/10). Hyde said, "The prospect of whole villages and communities in parts of remote Africa losing all of the adults and being composed of children is something out of a nightmare" (Wilson, "Morning Edition," NPR, 4/11).
"TIME IS UP"
Activists held up a giant alarm clock, representing the message that "'time is up' for congressional action to stop the global AIDS catastrophe" (Rally release, 4/4). Activists also tolled a bell once every 11 seconds, the frequency of AIDS-related deaths worldwide. Demanding additional U.S. funding for international HIV/AIDS program is "an essential first step," Cesar Portillo, chief of public affairs for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation <http://www.aidshealth.org/> , said, adding that he hoped the rally conveyed to Congress that funding of prevention programs alone is "not enough" without funding treatment programs as well. HIV-positive members of ACT UP/Philadelphia held up giant masks of human faces, constructed to represent "voiceless" HIV-positive people worldwide, as a way to "bring those people's voices to Congress," according to Julie Davids of ACT UP/Philadelphia. Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism <http://www.rac.org/home-frame.html> compared the HIV/AIDS crisis to the Holocaust, which he said demonstrates the "terrible price paid when men and women stand idly by while innocents are victimized or suffer. He added that while the HIV/AIDS crisis is a "different kind of disaster," it is nonetheless a disaster of "awesome dimension" (Hunter, Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/10). The rally, titled "A Day of Hope: Fight AIDS in Africa and Worldwide," came in advance of the congressional vote on Bush's emergency measure, which mainly appropriates money to finance defense expenditures. Congress is expected to begin marking up the measure during the last week of April (Rally release, 4/4). The NPR "Morning Edition" commentary by Richard Lang, professor of International Health at Boston University, and Paul Zeitz of the Global AIDS Alliance is available on RealPlayer Audio.
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