Since we last were together I've had phone problems(my only source of internet), so I'm way behind in talking to you. But, I've been busy regardless! I've been on the road quite a bit!
I was in Washington DC twice...First for ADAP Advocacy Conference...Talk about an amazingly inspiring group of advocates. Meeting for the first time face to face...like Brandon Macsata, Michelle Anderson, Melissa Baker, Dab Garner, Mark S King, Christopher Myron, Joe Scarborough and several others (thanks to scrambled gray matter, names are evading me right now....so please, friends, don't be offended!). And others seeing again, Robert Breining, Lepena Reid, Larry Frampton...
We had such great conversation...about the Affordable Care Act and the rumors about Ryan White going away (untrue as are most rumors). Conversations on how to come back home and share the truths! Reassuring our brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS, that all is well!
Wisely...the NC General Assembly decided to leave our ADAP alone. But then, they started reducing or making rules so restrictive as to be inaccessible...unemployment, food stamps, education (NC already pretty low on the national scale there anyway)...any programs that helped people who are not independently wealthy.
We HIV/AIDS Advocates already know the benefits of networking on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Well...Moral Mondays quickly learned as well. What started as a few 100 people meeting on Halifax Mall...a grassy area outside of the NC Legislative Building started growing, something like a snowball rolling down a hill...first a few hundred...then a few hundred more....then a 1000!
Yours truly being one of said 1000! All thanks to our free social media tools!
Why did I feel compelled to be a part of Moral Monday? Because as a woman living with AIDS, barely able to get by, with 2 grandchildren in the NC school system, with friends who had been drawing unemployment now were abruptly without, friends who followed all rules and regulations for help from social service agencies are told...30, 60, 90 days after ALL the requested information had been appropriately provided...and still no food stamps, medicaid or whatever service they had applied for had yet to be awarded...with phone calls being ignored, if calls answered..being told "We have a new system and we are doing the best we can!"
As chair of the Winston-Salem Homeless Caucus, being told shelters are full, that there are no Section 8 or HOPWA vouchers...to get the homeless into their own safe environs...
When my city is again one of the MOST food insecure citys in the United States...
Thanks to my making new friends through my Moral Monday activism...I even participated in the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King's March on Washington!
The point of this somewhat rambling, catch-up post is...that despite the many "obstacles" that have presented themselves to me...I'm Still Standing, Still Advocating...I hope that each time you read some of my ramblings, that you will be curious...that you'll find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+...just to see the "never give up spirit!"
And no, I do NOT expect others to be me...You are You...and You are loved and cared for just as You are, whether I know you or not! Remember, AIDS is just a thing I have...It does NOT have me!