Can't Keep a Good Advocate Down!
Greetings friends. It has been a moment since I last posted. Some would say its the Devil trying to prevent me from being heard, others might say bad Karma...Me, I just say "Its Life...and Keep it Moving!" 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! Upon returning to North Carolina...There was a movement afoot...called Moral Mondays. I became intrigued, then involved, as the current legislative body and our governor starting harming people like myself...those living on the edge, barely hanging on...first were discussions about reducing ADAP...me being fresh from ADAP Advocacy Conference, I was following this like a dog looking for a bone. 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... Despite being "disabled"...I had to attend Moral Mondays...wearing my "This is what HIV looks like" T-shirt, carrying my Dab the AIDS Bear, waving my sign that says "ADAP Saves Lives, Including Mine". Not being outspoken just isn't an option for me! I feel I've been required to be silent for too long...no more! 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!
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