Friday, October 21, 2005

Paving The Way

Bristol Myers

Thursday October 20, 2005
C2EA – Day 6

Supporters,

I knew the day was going to be interesting when the breakfast host brought us peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.

The significance of today was when we stopped for lunch, for which our police escort located. It was the front lawn of the world headquarters for Bristol Myers Squib. This is a pharmaceutical company that produces HIV/AIDS drugs at a profit of over a billion dollars a year. This compound was enormous, easily 200 acres of well manicured lawns. I can not tell you how many limos/chauffeured cars I observed driving into the compound. The compound even included a man made lake at its entrance. Needless to say, Bristol Myers Squib security was on us in no time. I have no doubt that they expected us to leave, but our police escort took care of that reticence (the police have been unarguably decent and respectful to the caravan during the entire march). I sat on the manicured lawns with people living with HIV/AIDS and felt like I wanted to storm the compound. There has been much argument how HIV/AIDS has become an industry, guaranteeing longevity to the virus. I myself work for an HIV/AIDS organization, so yes I see the industry. However, it is one thing to provide services for people with HIV/AIDS, but it is a far other thing to be making billions of dollars on medications for people with HIV/AIDS. As I was looking at that compound it was unquestionable that there were people in that building who had the intelligence and the tools to find a cure. So I ate my non-vegetarian prepared lunch (I’ve learned that vegetarians are accustomed to making the best of non-vegetarian prepared meals and carnivores pout and create chaos when forced to eat a vegetarian meal) and understood the importance of the Campaign to End AIDS. I want to leave you and Bristol Myers Squib with a statistic:

Everyday 8,500 people die from HIV/AIDS .
Everyday 13,500 people contract HIV/AIDS .

Walking,

Michael

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