Thursday, December 04, 2014

Staying in the RED Awareness Zone

Largest and Longest-Running HIV/AIDS Coalition Calls for Scale-Up of PrEP

The largest and longest-running national coalition of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations, the
AIDS United Public Policy Committee (PPC) — which covers jurisdictions that include more than two-thirds of people living with HIV/AIDS — calls for the scale-up of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

PrEP, a breakthrough in biomedical HIV prevention, involves a once-daily medication that when taken as directed, reduces the risk of HIV infection by upwards of 90%. The PPC commits to raising awareness of and reducing barriers to full scale-up of PrEP as a critically important prevention tool for people faced with substantial risk of HIV infection.

In Arkansas, limited discussion have begun but no formal statements have been forthcoming from area health officials or physician associations. It has been noted that some local doctors have not been fully educationally engaged as to use of this method and furthermore, many are not prescribing the medication despite its availability with cost being covered by most insurance companies. The Arkansas HIV Planning Group has provided information links on it's Facebook web platform and has suggested that a formal position will be posted in the near future.

Read the AIDS United PPC statement on PrEP, view the full press release and other resources, and download the #PrEPWorks social media toolkit at

Editor's Note: In the wake of the recent Grand Jury decision not to indict in both St. Louis and New York City concerning unarmed citizens who were murdered at the hands of local policeman, COP 24/7 has opened its pages to those whom want share their viewpoints, observations, or discussion about these ongoing matters in our society. This platform has not edited content with the acknowledgement that posted items are the opinions of the composers. Graphics and pictures were added to highlight the issue.

Black Lives Matter and Beyond
CAR stands in solidarity against the legalization, justification, and exoneration of criminal acts committed by all too many of this nation’s law enforcement officers. With deep sadness and grief, we at CAR lament the unwillingness of the legal system to hold police officers accountable for violent and all too many times fatal interactions with the citizenry that they are sworn to serve and protect. We mourn the needless loss of life, families left without their children and children left without their fathers. We are aggrieved at the disproportionate rates that people of color are targeted and their communities over policed. Young Black and Latino men bear the brunt of this and are literally being policed to death.

The "broken windows" approach seeking out low level offenders as a means of deterring larger criminal acts is utilized in many poor communities, primarily communities of color. This inequitable model of policing only serves to drive families deeper into poverty and in many cases ruins lives. No one is asking the question, "Why are windows in poor communities broken in the first place? Why is there not an effort to repair windows rather than shattering hopes and dreams? Where is the critical thinking and efforts to dismantle

the racism and classim, the assumption of privilege that leaves black and brown lives cast in a constant negative narrative? How did we get to a place where it is okay to constantly confront people of color on the whim of “suspicion” and for police to kill unarmed suspects?”

The truth of the matter is that as a nation, this has always been the way of many white people and their treatment of people of color. Violence, even unto death has repeatedly been the answer in owning, controlling and policing the bodies of people of color. The systemic terrorizing and lynching of Black people in the South and Latinos in the Southwest, where photos were taken and sold as post cards while white families picnicked under the body roped to a tree. Smiling faces for the cameras, including women and children, enjoying a day out at these horrific events.

November 29th is the 150th anniversary of the massacre at Sand Creek, where over 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho, women, children and old men were slaughtered and literally butchered by 700 U.S. Cavalry Troops. Their body parts including genitalia and their scalps were taken to cities and paraded for show.

In November as Sand Creek is remembered, when at long last the Governor of Colorado formally apologized to the descendants of this massacre, there came the news that Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot Mike Brown to death would not stand trial. He would walk free.

On December 1st we learned that officer Joseph Weekly of the Detroit police department would see manslaughter charges dropped for his killing a seven year old girl as she lay sleeping. On December 3rd came the news that an NYPD officer, Daniel Pantaleo will also not be indicted. This despite the city coroner ruling the death of Eric Garner a homicide and Pantaleo is seen clearly on video utilizing a banned choke hold. These are but a tiny portion of the deaths at the hands of police officers across the country.

America remains bound in the clutches of it bloody, racist history. We are not so far removed from the days when the brutal mistreatment of people of color was not only encouraged, but perfectly legal. Law enforcement has historically contained an element that focused on keeping people of color in their place. The reality is that many police forces evolved from efforts to specifically police slaves and indigenous people. The St. Louis Police Department was originally created to protect the town from the first people of color,

It’s only been 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed into law. In 2013 we saw important provisions of the act gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court, a move that led to multiple states immediately engaging in actions that would disenfranchise more voters, especially voters of color.

For-profit prisons trade on the stock market, to make money - they need bodies to fill their beds. In some cases they are charging states where they are based if beds go unfilled. A
Indigenous People. New York, Connecticut, Virginia, etc. enacted laws to criminalize and police slaves starting in the 1600’s. Congress itself passed fugitive slave laws. Many Southern police forces began as slave patrols. The Texas Rangers were formed to protect white families from Indigenous People and Mexicans who were trying to retain their lands. African descended, Indigenous, Latino and Asian-Pacific Islanders have all been unfairly targeted and policed in this country. And this disparate, racially biased policing is no-where near over.

mighty incentive to ensure that there is a growing prison population. Leading right back to controlling the bodies of those who have historically been a critical part of this country’s economic system.

We have not as a country been engaged in a war on crime, a war on drugs; it’s been a war on the poor and a war on people of color, the immigrant, the LGBTQ and all others who don’t fit the mold created in America’s melting pot. While white immigrants, even those who were initially treated badly were able to eventually assimilate based on skin color, a lot of other folks didn’t melt into the pot. Those of us in our differences, we continued to be targets of unjust laws, unjust policing, terror and at times death.

So how do we change things? How do we gather the courage to sit with one another, to listen to one another, to hear the humanity of our beings, the common needs that we all share? How do we protect ourselves and one another from the profiling that happens not only at the hands of the police, but between ourselves? How do we ourselves in our beloved communities dismantle our own prejudices in order to stand with one another, creating the voice of giants, lifting up a groundswell, calling for justice?

If we truly care about justice, we must move out of the framework that casts the personal into a narrative that reflects the politics of “just us” in the pursuit of liberation. We can and we must do better. We must be willing to listen to the truth, the history of where we have been and the reality of today. We must remember to keep the act of love in the midst of the revolution, for if naught, we are no better than those who withhold the cup of fairness and equality from our own lips. Here at CAR along with our many Allies, we believe that together, we can and we will - be the change that we seek.

COP 24/7 was designed as a community town hall square to encourage debate, discussion and analysis of "what's really going on in our community," and beyond. If you would like to share your thoughts feel free to reach out to us at  Let us hear from you today!!

Do you need FREE HIV testing? Don't know where to go? Had a bad experience otherwise? Call Arkansas RAPPS at 501-349-7777 to get the 411 on how you can know your status in 20 minutes!


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