Ending AIDS, racism: world falling short

Rosa refuses to stand; AIDS continues

cdc-hiv-race
https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/racialethnic/africanamericans/index.html New HIV Diagnoses in the US and Dependent Areas, 2018

Back in July 2020, I came across this article. “Ending AIDS: World Will Fall Short of 2020 Targets.” It noted that the “COVID-19 pandemic [is] on track to blow HIV progress off course, experts say

“The 2020 targets set by UNAIDS to control global HIV infection will not be met with ‘COVID-19 risks blowing HIV progress way off course,’ officials reported.

“According to the 2020 Global AIDS Update, 1.7 million people worldwide were newly infected in 2019 with HIV.” The target for this year was 500,000 “for 2020, according to the report at the International AIDS Conference virtual meeting.”

But on this World AIDS Day, don’t blame it all on the pandemic. “Our progress towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 was already off track before the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Three score and five

Meanwhile, it’s been 65 years since Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat in Montgomery, AL. The problems with the perception of the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and ’60s are several. For one, it seems to have been oversimplified. Rosa sat, Martin spoke and justice was won.

The push for equality started much earlier and remains necessary to this day. Why it took George Floyd’s death for a bunch of people to figure that out I’m sure some sociologists are analyzing.

Surely, we know about the perils of jogging while black or sleeping while black.

But it’s the everyday things that I find troubling. This story of a racist Pennsylvania judge resigning right before his own misconduct trial was set to begin happened to be in my feed. There are far too many examples to note.

About three and a half years ago, there was this blog post by a local author called “Why so many blacks in ads?” Knowing vaguely the guy who wrote it – he’s thrilled that IMPOTUS is going – I think the query was naive but not malicious. But the responses were, for the most part, virulent. Over 300 comments, 10% in 2020. There is a lot of use of the N-word.

Interestingly, the complaints aren’t all from the US. “My father fought in wwll for white British people this is our country and feel we are getting pushed out by black people ..their are to many black people in adverts.” It’s so comforting that racism and bad grammar are international.

The point is…

We ain’t there yet. We still need to work to eradicate these scourges. And, as you can see in the graphic from 2018, there is a relationship between race (systemic racism?) and HIV. AIDS is defeatable. And racism… well, I’m not so sure, but we need to keep on trying.

A Tribute to Sister Rosa Parks

New exhibit at the Library of Congress

Rosa ParksI’m talking a wild guess you might have heard about Rosa Parks, who was born February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, AL and died October 24, 2005 in Detroit, MI.

The Wikipedia says, “Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her ‘the first lady of civil rights’ and ‘the mother of the freedom movement.'”

But I saw a story this past December about a NEW Rosa Parks exhibit at the Library of Congress. It contains a treasure trove of her letters. Some are written on backs on food labels. I hope to see it; the exhibit runs through September 2020. At about the same time, a new Rosa Parks statue was unveiled in Montgomery, AL.

The King Institute website has a lot of important information about her. Among the featured documents that have been chosen from the King Papers collection:

Arrest Report for Claudette Colvin. City of Montgomery Police Department. March 02, 1955. Who is she? She was a precursor to Rosa, as I noted a decade ago. Fred Gray, Alabama civil rights attorney said, “Claudette gave all of us moral courage. If she had not done what she did, I am not sure that we would have been able to mount the support for Mrs. Parks.”

Arrest Record For Rosa Parks. City of Montgomery Police Department. December 01, 1955.

Announcement, Another Negro Woman has been Arrested — Don’t Ride the Bus. Robinson, Jo Ann Gibson (Women’s Political Council (WPC)), December 02, 1955. “Don’t Ride the Bus”. Robinson, Jo Ann Gibson (Women’s Political Council (WPC)), December 02, 1955.

“Resolution” – Montgomery Improvement Association. December 08, 1955.

Music

There’s an album that came out some years ago, with snippets of dialogue from Rosa Parks between music tracks. This is my favorite song: Help Us Lord – The Chosen.

Here’s a track from the mighty Neville Brothers, Sister Rosa.

The perfect victim, just the right symbol

Why is it that white men wave real guns around crowded areas in America and are taken into custody alive, yet Tamir Rice, a 12-year old carrying a toy gun in an open carry state, is dead?

Black Lives MatterRight around December 1, when everyone was rightfully talking about the anniversary of Rosa Parks’ 1955 refusal to cede her seat in a Birmingham bus, one of the Twitter pals of Arthur Tweeted, “Do some research on Claudette Colvin, sidelined as she didn’t have the right ‘look’ of a true heroine”. Arthur wanted my thoughts on that, maybe on March 2, 2015, which is the 60th anniversary of Colvin’s arrest — the first arrest for resisting bus segregation.

As it turns out, I DID write about Claudette Colvin, almost five years ago, and I don’t have much more to say.

Arthur added:

Seems to me this raises issues of expediency — deliberately choosing the best “face” to put on an issue Continue reading “The perfect victim, just the right symbol”

February Rambling: Military Draft, Muppets and Graceland

“’Soul Train’ was the first and only television show to showcase and put a spotlight on black artists at a time when there were few African-Americans on television at all, and that was the great vision of Don.”

When I mentioned the military draft earlier in the month, I may not have been very clear. Think of a large goldfish bowl with 365 or 366 balls with every date for the year represented. The first date for a particular year pulled would be the first selected for military service, the second date pulled the second selected, etc. There would be a cutoff number, based on need for the war effort. Check out this article and then this one.

The food stamp President; note that Arthur had this BEFORE MoveOn.com helped propel it viral. He also remembers the first anniversary of the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake, the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s flight aboard Friendship 7, and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.

Rosa Parks Did Much More than Sit on a Bus

The Stories I Tell: “Like most of us I was raised to tell the truth and be honest. This can present a minor dilemma for resellers.”

How a mom used Star Wars to answer life’s questions

Marvel/Disney wages petty, vicious war against Ghost Rider creator. Continue reading “February Rambling: Military Draft, Muppets and Graceland”

35 iff

Just like civil rights activists were firehosed, beaten and even killed, it almost always takes struggle before a modicum of justice can be achieved.

Psalm 90:10 in the King James Version reads, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

It occurred to me that Matthew Sheperd would have been 35 today – half of three score and ten – had he not been crucified on October 7, 1998. The peculiar thing about his death is that it always seems to take a tragedy for attitudes and behaviors to change. There are several activities the Matthew Shepard Foundation is involved with, including support for the The Laramie Project, a play that has “become a powerful tool for communities to discuss and explore how hate impacts every part of their society.”
Continue reading “35 iff”