Sunday, October 30, 2005

C2EA American Heritage Caravan

American Heritage caravan update # 9

By Vaughn Frick
American Heritage Caravan rider

October 29, 2005
Chicago, Illinois

Our caravan was well recieved in this city so rich with a history of political activism, a city where so many people live with HIV, where so many have died.
Our American Heritage riders were set up in comfortable accomadations at the Institute of Cultural Affairs. The Uptown neighborhood where we are staying is one of the most culturally diverse in Chicago, within blocks of where we are staying over 81 different languages are spoken.
The Institute of Cultural Affairs Community Resource Center in Chicago enables 24 agencies to provide health, support, and homeless services to the Uptown neighborhood's diverse population. Over 120,000 persons are served by these agencies each year. ICA's International Conferance Center last year provided space for 167 different organizations from around the world for 180 conferences and numerous meetings for urban research, exploration and service. Today this center hosted such groups as Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and an organization of Ghanian taxi-cab drivers.
For our caravan most of our stay here was one of rest, which for many Caravan Riders was touring the culture and sights of this international city.
Part of this culture was the near-by Gay district, or "Boy's Town" along the stretch of Halsted street. What happened on Halsted street, stays on Halstead street.
I hope.
Later in the afternoon over half of the American Heritage caravan riders met with our local supporters at the Test Positive Aware Network housed in a neighborhood impacted by a high percentage of HIV infections. Test Positive Aware Network was founded in 1987 by Chris Clason and 16 other individuals who were HIV positive. They came together with the belief that through the sharing of information and personal experiences regarding HIV that they could help each other. They believed that self-empowerment and information would help them to live.
TPAN is a community-based organization dedicated to providing services to persons infected, and affected by HIV. Service delivery is peer based, and the many needs of Chicago's HIV community is this groups only mission.
The majority of both the staff and volunteers are HIV positive, to better understand the issues, emotions, and concerns faced by their client base.
TPAN's motto is "Committed to living-committed to you."
Life.
Death.
Tonight the season of ghosts began to play on Chicago's streets as Halloween nears, the time when our dead are near.

To learn more about the Campaign To End AIDS, the American Heritage Caravan, and how you can help finally end the AIDS pandemic, please log onto:
www.c2ea.org.
To learn more about the Institute of Cultural Affairs:
Chicago@ica-usa.org
And to contact the Test Positive Aware Network:
www.tpan.com

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