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AIDS activists demand resources

Published Nov 5, 2005 10:30 PM

“We must come together to demand the resources that we need to fight this epidemic in communities of color and everywhere!” With that declaration, Rev. Franklin Hobbs of Healing Our Land opened the Northeast Campaign to End AIDS HIV/AIDS Caravan freedom ride to Washington, D.C., at the Greater Love Tabernacle in Dorchester, Mass.

Leaders from AIDS service organi zations, Black churches and especially two dozen people living with the virus spoke, sang, clapped and stood unified with a single demand. Everyone agreed to push for full implementation of the City of Boston’s declaration of an HIV/AIDS state of emergency in communities of color in Boston. Healing Our Land worked three years for passage of the proclamation, which was declared last March 30.

Four Boston City Council members were present and/or represented at the event, including Chuck Turner, Charles Yancey, Felix Arroyo and Maura Henni gan, all co-sponsors of the state of emergency.

Only a few other cities in the U.S. and one state, Alabama, have passed such proclamations. Pastor Martin M. McClee, chair of the HIV Committee of the Black Ministerial Alliance, said: “Emergencies call for action. Now is the time for action. Funded programs result in action. Now is the time for funding.”

Other faith leaders taking part included Pastor William Dickerson, Greater Love Tabernacle, and Evangelist Vernessa Fountain of Healing Our Land.

Robert Traynham, a leader in the Boston School Bus Drivers Union, Local 8751 USWA, and the Troops Out Now Coalition called upon all attending to participate in the Dec. 1 Day of Absence Against Poverty, Racism and War. Rev. Hobbs, who has been HIV positive for 18 years, is an endorser of the Dec. 1 actions that are being organized across the country in honor of the late civil rights fighter Rosa Parks.

The event was organized and endorsed by Healing Our Land, the Campaign to End AIDS, Troops Out Now Coalition, the Cambridge Health Alliance, the Multi cultural AIDS Coalition and the Fenway Community Health Center.