There are so many things going on in our world right now. Today is #GivingTuesday, so, of course, the BAI needs your help. We are launching a new campaign to help our friends to support the work that we do. The campaign is called “30 Days of Giving: 3 Ways to Give”.
In the campaign we are partnering with Johnson & Johnson, ebay and Airbnb. You can support us by simply sharing a photo on the Johnson & Johnson “Donate a Photo” app. You can visit our online auction on ebay, or you can donate directly by using your cell phone to text BlackAIDS to 91999. With all the things that are going on, your support has never been more critical. Please do what you can.
On Thursday, the US Senate is expected to take up the tax-reform bill. This is legislation that we have to pay attention to. The Senate bill will eliminate the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, crippling the ACA and forcing 13 million Americans, including people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses, to lose their health insurance. We have to tune in and we need to communicate to members of the Senate how important health access is to us and how they cannot sacrifice the health of millions of Americans to provide a tax break for the wealthy. Please contact these Senators to let them know how important the ACA is to you:
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine
Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee
Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona
Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin
Sen. John McCain, Arizona
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky
Friday is World AIDS Day. This year, more so than any year in the past, we have to transform it into World AIDS Advocacy Day or World AIDS Action Day. With all that is at stake, it’s not enough for us to commemorate this day with symbolic gestures. The Black AIDS Institute will be launching our new website. It will be full of resources and recommendations for how you can get involved.
Also, the Institute’s newest AIDS ambassador, Ledisi, is finishing up her 27-city tour with concerts in Norfolk, Va., on World AIDS Day and Richmond, Va., on December 2nd. If you live in either of those cities, local organizations are sponsoring events where you can get free tickets to this concert where she’s touring with Kirk Franklin.
Additionally, we are in the last days of the 2017 Open Enrollment Period for the ACA. If you do not have health insurance, or you need to make changes in your health coverage, or you have a health plan that does not meet your needs, this is the time of year for you to sign up for coverage under the ACA. The Trump administration is doing everything in its power to sabotage the ACA, including scare tactics to suppress the open-enrollment process. Don’t believe the scare tactics. The ACA is your best chance to have comprehensive affordable health coverage. Time is running out. You must register before December 15th. Go to HealthCare.gov.
The Black AIDS Institute will be conducting town-hall meetings and literally helping to sign people up almost every day between now and December 15th. To find the date where we’ll be in our city or near you, look at the Events section of this week’s Black AIDS Weekly.
I am constantly amazed at the resilience of this community and I particularly notice that resilience this time of the year. This year, in particular, we are facing tremendous challenges and obstacles. But we continue to be hopeful, we continue to fight the good fight, and most importantly, we continue to win many of the battles. That’s because we don’t forget what’s at stake and we never give up. As we think about World AIDS Day, as we think about the season of giving and thanks, I want to personally thank you for what you do and how you contribute to our efforts to end the AID epidemic in our communities.
In this issue we report on the research showing that one-third of Americans haven’t heard anything about open enrollment. One of our USCA Fellows, Howard Winchester, who is a communications associate with NASTAD, writes about the fear and stigma among the factors that prevent people from getting HIV tested. Our friends at HIV.gov share 10 things to know about viral suppression and our nation’s progress against the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s viral suppression goals. Finally, learn the details of how you can participate in our “30 Days of Giving: 3 Ways to Give” campaign. Find out how you can make a difference.
Yours in the struggle,