Thursday, March 08, 2012

COP 24/7: Upward and Boundless

Bayard Rustin: Standing in the gap of Social Injustice

2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Bayard Rustin’s birth, and the Brother Outsider team is working hard to bring Rustin’s (pictured with Dr. King)  inspiring story to new audiences around the globe. To find out more about centennial screenings, conferences, readings, performances and other events, click here.
COP 24/7 is partnering with The National Association of Black and White Men Together, People of Unity, the Straight Gay Alliance based on the campus of Philander Smith College and other commuity based organizations to present a local showing of the film. NABWMT through its Bush-Mallon Institute provided a video mini-grant to support local showings through its affiliates of chapters. The institute's goal is to address social justice issues which are juxtaposed to the vision of the organization's statement of purpose dealing with racism, sexism, homophobia, and HIV/AIDS. NABWMT also plans to salute Rustin during its 32nd national convention in San Diego, July 16-21. More updates on this event will posted next week.

Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and its national broadcasts on PBS’ P.O.V. series and on Logo/MTV, Brother Outsider has introduced millions of viewers around the world to the life and work of Bayard Rustin—a visionary strategist and activist who has been called “the unknown hero” of the civil rights movement. A disciple of Gandhi, a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., and the architect of the 1963 March on Washington, Rustin dared to live as an openly gay man during the fiercely homophobic 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Rustin was subject to humiliation, harassment, beatings and a 1970 FBI probe.

The website cites that today, the United States is still struggling with many of the issues Bayard Rustin sought to change during his long, illustrious career. His focus on civil and economic rights and his belief in peace, human rights and the dignity of all people remain as relevant today as they were in the 1950s and 60s.
Rustin’s biography is particularly important for lesbian and gay Americans, highlighting the major contributions of a gay man to ending official segregation in America. Rustin stands at the confluence of the great struggles for civil, legal and human rights by African-Americans and lesbian and gay Americans. In a nation still torn by racial hatred and violence, bigotry against homosexuals, and extraordinary divides between rich and poor, his eloquent voice is needed today.

The recipient of more than 25 awards and honors, Brother Outsider has been shown at The United Nations, The Kennedy Center, and for members of Congress, as well as at hundreds of schools, community forums, labor gatherings, faith organizations, and film festivals; it is also being used widely in workplace diversity presentations at corporations, law firms, and other companies. To inquire about scheduling a screening at your workplace, school or organization, please send an email to info [at] rustin [dot] org or use the Contact link below. You can also download the discussion/ curriculum guide, produced in partnership with Frameline’s Youth In Motion program.

Pursuing the Goals of the NHAS for Women

As National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day nears, I wanted to share highlights of actions that have unfolded since our last blog post on achieving the goals of the NHAS for women.
March 10 National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness DayImpact of HIV on Women in the U.S.
Nearly 300,000 women in the United States are living with HIV/AIDS and, according to the CDC, there are an estimated 11,200 new HIV infections among women each year. Approximately 80% of these women are infected through heterosexual contact. At a population level, 1 in every 32 black women; 1 in 106 Hispanic/Latina women; 1 in 182 Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander women; 1 in 217 American Indian/Alaska Native women; and 1 in 526 white or Asian women will be diagnosed with HIV infection. These data illustrate the disproportionate burden of HIV borne by African American women and Latinas compared to women of other races/ethnicities.
We know that gender inequality and inequity contribute to women’s vulnerability and risk for HIV acquisition. We also know that many of these women face challenges in access to health care as well as experience poverty, violence, trauma, and other conditions that exacerbate their risk for HIV.
Take Charge Take the TestWorking to Address HIV Among Women in the U.S.

Many of our colleagues, inside and outside of government, are studying how these disparities can best be addressed. For example, in their recent article, “Social Determinants of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Black Women: Implications for Health EquityExit Disclaimer, colleagues from CDC discuss national efforts to advance consideration of social determinants of health. Also, CDC recently launched Take Charge. Take the Test. Exit Disclaimer, a campaign designed to increase HIV testing among African American women between the ages 18 to 34.

In November 2011 HHS, led by the Office on Women’s Health, released a special supplement to the journal Women’s Health Issues providing perspectives on gender-specific health concerns of U.S. women and girls in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and recommendations for strategic improvements to meet their needs.

HHS recently convened a cross-agency discussion group to address a more coordinated national response to HIV/AIDS research, prevention, care and treatment for U.S. women and girls. This group will examine how HHS can use the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) to advance the nation’s response to HIV/AIDS among women and girls.

In the Months Ahead
On March 14, White House and Administration officials will discuss the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women, and gender-related health disparities. Speakers and panelists will examine the nexus of these important issues and their impact on women’s lives both domestically and globally.
Later this month the HHS Office on Women’s Health will host a consultation about strategies to improve the health, well-being, and safety of individuals, families and communities by improving reentry outcomes for women leaving jails and prisons, including the estimated 2% of female inmates held in state or federal prisons living with HIV/AIDS.

Finally, an important provision of the Affordable Care Act takes effect on August 1 when new private health plans must cover the guidelines on women’s preventive services with no cost sharing. This means that women will be able to receive preventive health services, including annual HIV and sexually transmitted infections testing and domestic violence screening and counseling. By eliminating barriers like co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles, these guidelines will help improve access to affordable, quality health care for all women; increase the number of women aware of their HIV status; and better connect those living with HIV into care.

A Role for Everyone
As we observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we are reminded that achieving the Strategy’s goals will require more active engagement from all sectors of society. We know that many vital activities are underway around the nation and that individuals, organizations, and communities are contemplating new ways they can contribute to these national efforts.

What action steps are you, your organization, or community taking to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls? Tell us at
These important conversations and activities will continue and evolve across all sectors as we work together to improve–and enlist more partners in–our efforts to work towards an AIDS-free generation.

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