I agree with Charles King, organizer of the Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA) and a founder of New York City’s HIVer Housing Works, when he says in your magazine: “We need people who are willing to stand up and articulate a vision of a world without AIDS” [“Charles King Has a Dream,” September 2005]. The enormous effort to organize this fall’s C2EA march on Washington, DC, is a first. The lessons from those who stood up to make it happen will provide a sound activist blueprint for years.
I was first drawn to C2EA when King compared it to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. The AIDS pandemic is about so much more than disease. Just like MLK, Housing Works and Charles King have set high expectations for us all.
I hope that many people read the article “Charles King Has a Dream” and come away believing we must work more in this country not only for C2EA but for social justice. We are at a time when we need to redefine what having civil rights means. As a black man, I believe we need to redefine what it means to be free. Sometimes, as consumers, we find ourselves in an area of complacency and disregard, and that puts us in a vulnerable position. It reminds me of something I took away from a Martin Luther King Jr. speech: that there are two kinds of people—thermometers and thermostats. Thermometers can tell you the temperature. Thermostats can change the temperature.
There are over 100,000 patients in the U.S. successfully using medical cannabis in compliance with state laws. It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of federally imposed pot prohibition has had little impact on their practices (“Buzz Kill,” September 2005). The ruling has, however, mobilized many within the medical community to become more vocal in their support of legal approval of medi-pot. Ignorance and empty rhetoric fostered the federal ban on medical marijuana. Patients and the public have little patience for either. That’s why they continue to back the medical use of cannabis in spite of Congress’ “flat Earth” pot policies and why medical-pot users will continue using the medicine that best alleviates their pain and suffering.
FIT TO PRINT
Your profile of positive fitness trainer Jeffrey Gross inspired me to get in shape [“Positively Fit,” September 2005]. We need to read stories like this because positive people need to know that with determination they can get fit. Previously, I had found few practical, real-life success stories for people like me. Now, I have started my own workout program, and though I haven’t seen many physical results yet, I do feel a lot better mentally.
I want to thank you for giving my positive 15-year-old daughter the opportunity to express herself and discuss her life experiences [“Quoth the Raven,” September 2005]. People have said they think Raven is courageous to come forward with such honesty. Many were shocked that I allow her to be sexually active. All I can say is I must support her because she has handled what many adults are still struggling with: disclosure and honesty. I have connected with mothers from as far as Kansas who want me to share how I helped her understand life with HIV, knowing there is still stigma and discrimination. We have an ongoing discussion about truth, honesty and understanding why people discriminate. Thank you again for allowing a young minority girl to demonstrate that there is life after being born with this virus.