Monday, October 17, 2005

Paving The Way

My First 2 Days

NYCAHN BEGINS MARCH FROM NYC TO DC

By, Cameron Craig, NYCAHN Board Member
Day 1 of Paving the Way
<a href="http://c2ea.blogspot.com/">On the road with C2Ea</a

Knock, knock, knock...Knock, knock, knock. Yeah, it's after 5:00 a.m., O.K. I'm getting up! That's how our morning started for the Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA)-we almost overslept!

LaVerne Holley and myself had spent the night at my mother's house in Brooklyn because we didn't feel like getting up at 2:a.m., leave from the Bronx, to meet Jennifer Flynn at NYC AIDS Housing Network in Brooklyn at 6:30 a.m. in the morning.

After many months of planning and a postponement because of Hurricane Katrina, we are finally on our way. We are at Times Square, holding a rally to begin the kick-off. Charles King from Housing Works is speaking and I'm looking around to see who else is making the walk. I see Terri, Valeria and Robert Cordero from Housing Works. There's Jennifer, Shirlene, Amos, Romeo, Julah and Karen from NYCAHN. There's Kayona and others from Youth CAHN. I see Daliah, Eddie, Wilfredo and Ben from CitiWide Harm Reduction.

We begin our descent into the bowels of the earth (Lincoln Tunnel), under the Hudson River to our first state of New Jersey, but not before a spectacular send off of "We Shall Overcome" with some of the words changed to reflect the C2EA Campaign. I don't think of any of us have ever thought about how long it would take to walk through the tunnel, but here we are. There's no traffic, but for the 1000+ people who have decided to be part of this historic event.

The first city in New Jersey we arrive in after coming out of the Tunnel is Hoboken, where the Mayor declares October as C2EA month. From Hoboken, we go to Jersey City to hold a rally advocating Needle Exchange and hear a speech by the Mayor of Jersey City representative.

Our first night is spent at the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County where we receive a marvelously cooked dinner of chicken and red rice with olives.

Cameron Craig

Day 2 of Paving the Way
Well it's Day #2 of the march. It's 7:20 a.m. in the morning and after walking 8 miles surprisingly we are all well rested and eager to begin marching to our next city-Newark. I must mention the fact that we have a man who is 71 years old also making the march. It turns out that this man, Juan Santos is also a NYCAHN member and he started the march with us from New York.

Charles King from Housing works is leaving early today to go to church to inform the congregation about our march and the importance of what we are doing and the impact we hope to have-not only on elected officials-but also on the public. As we walk through Jersey City with our police escort LaVerne and I are passing out flyers detailing our four point platform that states we will be going through. I am amazed that the citizens of Jersey City are not only keeping the flyers they are actually reading them. As we hand out flyers to the passing cars, very few of the drivers have refused to accept them. When we stop at a local McDonalds not only do they want one of our posters (END AIDS) some of the young people in McDonald's ask us for condoms.

In order to get to Newark we board the Housing Works mini-bus into Kearny, New Jersey. We pick-up the march through the commercial section chanting "Bush is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S! He don't give us money for A-I-D-S/H-I-V!" along the way. As we enter Broad Street into Newark, people are looking at us as we walk by. I don't know what's going on in their mind, but I hope it's positive.

We have arrived at City Hall in Newark and there's NO reception other than the marvelous cooperation of the Newark Police Department. As we decide our next move, we find out that we will be staying at the Firehouse which is part of the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children.

This organization, which volunteered to house us for the night, is in major financial trouble. Dr. Zealand, the Co-Founder, informed us of the difficulty he is having to pay for the rehab of the building which provides afterschool care to young people affected and infected by HIV. Many of them are AIDS orphans. It seems that no one is aware or wants to help this amazing organization that is doing wonderful things to up-lift the moral of HIV+ children. Right now, this organization is $1.3 million in debt and this program gets no support from the City of Newark.
For tonight, LaVerne, Amos and I are staying at Jennifer's mother's house.

Tomorrow we begin again.

Cameron Craig

http://www.nycahn.org/
NYCAHNCampaigntoEndAIDSCommittee.htm

1 Comments:

At 7:13 AM, Blogger Joe Muka said...

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