After 35 years of being in the HIV movement, I know 2024 will test our resistance like never before. We should be very concerned about potential federal budget cuts, investigations into HIV prevention and education materials, the 5th circuit decision on Braidwood, and our ability to end the HIV epidemic in America with much less funding than we had been allocated.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
HIV is under a coordinated attack just because it goes against some people’s values. The radical right will continue to weaponize our lives with inflammatory narratives that get their base to vote. Just how they want to control women’s bodies by outlawing abortion, they want to limit HIV support because it goes against their religious beliefs. We know too well what that looks like. It means more of the same old playbook but much greater force; sweeping anti-LGBTQ, women, people of color legislation with continued attacks on healthcare access, PrEP, abortion, and affirmative action.
Our movement thankfully beat back some of these efforts in 2023 but that’s no cause for complacency. Despite the strong policy efforts of multiple national organizations, there has never been a moment like the one in front of us.
WHAT CAN WE DO AS A COMMUNITY?
Get Out The Vote: Progressive movements must work to get community to vote. While NMAC, as a 501(c)3, cannot take sides in any elections, we can, like other nonprofits, work to register voters and drive clients to the polls. While it might be hard to believe, it looks like a rematch between Biden and Trump. This election will also decide the future of many profoundly American issues that we deeply care about. It’s not only HIV, but also gun control, climate change, abortion, immigration, student loans, affirmative action, Black Lives Matter, the wars in Ukraine and the middle east, gender affirming care, equality, and the list goes on. It is a fight for the soul of America.
Building The Movement: Some might question NMAC’s focus on the elections but we know too well how policy affects our personhood. We also believe this is an all-hands-on deck moment. While NMAC is individually too small, we can continue to make deep impact by mobilizing and uniting as part of a national movement.
Strengthening Partnerships: In this crucial year, it is also imperative to continue our collaborations with progressive federal partners to End the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. and with our invaluable community coalitions. We have come this far only because we have persevered together and followed the science. I can truly never overstate the value of our people’s power.
2024 will be especially tough on the communities carrying the greatest burden of HIV, even after we’ve come so far. We’re working up and down the ballot, fighting to ensure America’s continued commitment to equality and justice. So now, we will not concede ground without a fight. But as we’ve witnessed, this is equally true for the radical right, which is why I am so concerned.
They will call us horrible names and lie upon us like never before. While we know the truth, the trauma of their lies could impact our mental health and that of the people we serve. Hopefully I’m wrong. But what I am right about, is that it’s time for our community to get ready to vote!
Yours in the struggle,