Living in the Dream
Every time I hear Dr. Kings iconic speech "I Have A Dream" it continues to remind me that even though it was given some five decades ago, it still resonates, vibrates and illuminates the importance of his work then and certainly now. As an advocate and activist, I have always taking the position that the "civil rights" he demanded was pivotal to the "human rights" angle that I have used in my pursuit to address sexual health issues in Arkansas' marginalized communities.
King constantly reminded the populous of the importance of being mindful of the poor, downtrodden and those who may have not accessed versions of the American dream. He stood with garbage workers in Memphis, disenfranchised voters throughout the south and energized individuals into flexing their economic power through sacrifice as they collapsed Birmingham's local bus transportation system.
Today I have found that despite distinct and bold changes that have occurred, there continues to be disparities resulting in socio-economic barriers and roadblocks that impede those who are either living or affected by HIV and AIDS. Local community based organizations have cited that those living on the cusp of the Federal poverty level or below the FPL are often impacted when polices and procedures began to fluctuate. The HEFTE 4000 paradigm which includes "housing, education, food, transportation and employment have been assessed as critical intersections in regards to those linking to care or adhering to life extending drug regimens.
During King's life he illuminated that our country's plentiful bounty and substantial resources should be and could be utilized to raise citizens out of poverty. He spoke extensively about the economic gaps and extreme societal gulfs that were prevalent then, have all but widened even further today. Protesters around the nation and globally have been demanding that our systems of government recognize these conditions with more positive outcomes. Although HIV/AIDS funding has been flat lined and due to budgetary battles there have been realignments, shifts and cutbacks, it's imperative that we as activist, advocate and consumers stay diligent in our asking law makers and policy influencers to be vigilant in securing HIV/AIDS funding. Dr. King expressed that health of a nation is paramount and as we celebrate his legacy, birthday and empowering spirit, we must stay the course in keeping this health crisis front and center with the power, dignity and forward looking vision which King embodied. Happy birthday Dr. King, your contributions to our lives will never be forgotten!