Sunday, November 06, 2005

C2EA American Heritage Caravan

American Heritage update # 16

By Vaughn Frick
American Heritage Caravan rider

November 6, 2005
Washington, D.C.: Day of Action # 2

The stew of smog has cleared from the D.C. skies today, the blue skies and relatively cleaner air has revived me a bit, as has the rest time I'm allowing myself today. Last night I started to get sick on the cold gymnasium floor, soaking my sleeping bag with sweat. For some reason the air conditioning is cranked up full blast all night, and we can't turn it down for a perplexing array of excuses. The more critically ill of this band are being housed in better situations now, I'm told. Those of us still in the recreational center's gymnasium had to sign a release and waiver "from any and all damages which may be sustained by me directly or indirectly in connection with, or arising out of my overnight stay at the facility..."
How odd to be here advocating for the rights of the HIV/AIDS affected world community, yet to do so I must sign away my rights and protections. Washington, D.C. is all about this breed of contradiction, down to it's Spirograph street layout planned by French immigrants centuries past.
I've also been assured that those of us who's health demands dictate regular meals will be provided with sack lunches when food is delayed.
The big scheduled event here today later on will be a "Don't Keep Youth in the Dark on HIV" rally for effective HIV prevention. A march will begin at Malcolm X Park on Meridian Hill, culminating in a large rally across from the White House at Lafayette Park. Civil Disobedience training is underway as I type this.
From the Washington Post in regards to yesterday's march, we are getting good media representation here:
"Washington has a far higher incidence of AIDS-170.6 cases per 100,000 people, according to federal statistics-than other major US cities, including New York and San Francisco. An estimated one in twenty District residents is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. And that number climbs to an estimated one in seven among black men in the District, said Michael Pickering of RAP Inc., a drug treatment program that works with people who have AIDS."
And I would like to thank all of my friends and readers of these blogs who have emailed me such kind words of support. Often I only have access to a computer for an hour or two, and dash these things out in a fast and sloppy gorilla journalistic manner. Special thanks to friend Rick who nearly daily responds with energizing words of hope.
This was sent to me from my friend Steve who has been there for me since we attended Lincoln High School of Seattle way back in the day:
"Inert Self Castration
Okay, so during this entire trip the most attention you received and the most consideration you were offered were from high school kids and religious organizations who are about to have their funding pulled out from underneath them. How does the funding in this country compare with say, western Europe? How can any government be called wise that ignores something that spirals out of control out of ignorance and neglect?

But of course this government was put there by the voice of the people (the people with bankrolls), and disseminated by a media that will cover whatever offers them the best short term gain.

The only hope I can garner from these journal entries is the occasional group of enlightened individuals you have encountered on your travels. But without proper funding and considering the farcical amount of funding they have, how can it be enough?

That, and there are individuals like me out here who feel helpless watching this shit every day. But that's part of the trouble isn't it, people who feel numbed and made apathetic by giving into hopelessness. Well, fuck me, and anyone else who feels that way...they put themselves in that position themselves.

Your battle is worthy.
Inert Self Castration
Okay, so during this entire trip the most attention you received and the most consideration you were offered were from high school kids and religious organizations who are about to have their funding pulled out from underneath them. How does the funding in this country compare with say, western Europe? How can any government be called wise that ignores something that spirals out of control out of ignorance and neglect?

But of course this government was put there by the voice of the people (the people with bankrolls), and disseminated by a media that will cover whatever offers them the best short term gain.

The only hope I can garner from these journal entries is the occasional group of enlightened individuals you have encountered on your travels. But without proper funding and considering the farcical amount of funding they have, how can it be enough?

That, and there are individuals like me out here who feel helpless watching this shit every day. But that's part of the trouble isn't it, people who feel numbed and made apathetic by giving into hopelessness. Well, fuck me, and anyone else who feels that way...they put themselves in that position themselves.

Your battle is worthy.
I know you are despairing right now. Just remember that this trip is not about the people who do or do not respond. You are doing this for yourself and your friends. The fault does not entirely lay with the people who choose to remain ignorant, although they do help it along with indifference. This kind of movement gets it's lifeblood from the media and the things it chooses to point it's fickle gaze at. People cannot help or join or follow if they don't know your there. As for the people whose attention you get and that do not respond except with ignorance? Do not feel bitter towards them but pity. Even a long life if it is one bereft of compassion and understanding is no kind of life at all.

Don't look outside for satisfaction and reward, look to your own brave heart, because you have a mighty one my friend.

Fuck it, shout in SPITE of the ignorant and fearful.

Remember Frederick Douglass' admonition to a young student: "Agitate, agitate, agitate".

Thank You, Steve.


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