The message from the International AIDS Conference in July was loud and clear: we have the tools to end the global AIDS crisis, from the Bronx to Botswana. What we’re lacking is the political will to fully fund the fight and enact policies rooted in human rights in order achieve President Obama’s declared goal of an “AIDS-free generation.”
Thank you to the more than 1,000 New Yorkers who got on the bus to Washington, DC on July 24th for the historic We Can End AIDS march during the conference, which was the largest mobilization of the HIV/AIDS community in the United States in recent memory. Read further down for photos and media coverage.
We called for a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street to fund essential HIV/AIDS services at home and abroad, an end to the war on drugs fueling the epidemic, and upholding the human rights of the communities most affected, including people who use drugs and women. (The full platform for the We Can End AIDS mobilization for human rights and economic justice is available online.)
A dozen activists, including VOCAL-NY’s Board Chair Wanda Hernandez, were arrested after they tied red ribbons to the White House fence with symbols representing the tools to stop the epidemic, including keys representing housing, dollar bills representing funding, and sterile syringes representing evidence-based prevention.
Washington Post: AIDS conference unites protesters in march to the White House
A dozen people were arrested — as they had planned to be — after they began tying hundreds of pouches of medicine and dollar bills tied with red ribbon to symbolize their desire for more funding to AIDS medication.
Many wore green pointy felt hats with a red feather and green masks — a sea of Robin Hoods marching on a cloudy day and stopping at various buildings that house key financial institutions. “It’s not a tax on the people, it’s a tax to end HIV/AIDS,” said a sign many waved.
The main organizing groups were National Nurses United, Health Global Access Project, VOCAL-NY, ACT UP and National People’s Action. The Occupy movement also joined the protest.
ABC (photos): Protesters march for more AIDS funding
Edward Wilson, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1994, traveled from Brooklyn, N.Y. with a group representing Vocal New York, an HIV/AIDS and social justice organization. His protest group, whose members all dressed up as Robin Hood, seek to tax Wall Street in order to stop cuts to domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs. [Also, a photo of VOCAL-NY community organizer Jaron Benjamin outside the main Bank of American branch near the White House]
As they neared the White House, the march converged with a flock of Robin Hoods surrounding an imposing stone Bank of America branch. They were members of National Nurses United and VOCAL-NY, calling for a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions: as little as a half-percent tax on the kinds of risky transactions between banks that sparked the global economic meltdown.
AIDSMeds.com: We Can End AIDS March Converges on White House
Wall Street Journal: AIDS Activists March to the White House