By Lindsay Steele
I attended a conference yesterday, “Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) Spotlight: State Budgets, A Funder Briefing in Oakland.” Throughout the day I had countless “AHA!” moments. I now sit here trying to make sense of my hastily noted bullet points of enlightenment. Although impossible to fully express the rollercoaster of feelings that I unknowingly embarked on yesterday – worry, hope, excitement, sorrow – I want to share some of the messages that I took away from this experience.
- During the 1980’s (the first decade of AIDS), there was not one science-based convention. 100% of the funds came from the community!
- HIV is not a priority, even within the HIV-positive and “at risk” communities.
- The strength of the advocacy group is directly proportional to the relationship of the advocacy group with the community.
We are looking at three different aspects of community: Community mobilization, community disregard and community relationship. The world is made up of an infinite number of “communities” and we each belong to an infinite number of “communities” – Try to think of all of the different communities that you belong to… It’s not as easy as it sounds – The power of change falls upon us, as communities, to take action. Change starts at the community level as we see proven by the first bullet point above.
Although I took more away from yesterday’s conference than the importance of community, I found this to be the most relevant “Aha!”. We must act individually, as a community, to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic, to address our concern, and address our dedication to become a part of the solution.
You’ve heard it before … wear your AIDS Red Ribbons to demonstrate your commitment to the community. You can purchase your pins at the Until There’s A Cure online store. And lastly, we thank you for being a part of OUR COMMUNITY.