Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Paving The Way

November 8 2005 - Douglas Speaks!

November 8, 2005
Douglas Sanders

Can we officially say we closed a chapter in history? I can’t believe that I have taken three weeks out of my so called “normal life” and spent them with some of the greatest, most insane and most brilliant minds as far as Advocacy for AIDS goes. I’ve learned a lot throughout my journey with the Campaign to End AIDS. I’ve learned so much about the people I work with and the organization that we work so hard for. I’ve put in many late hours, but not as much as some others, even though most think I may be the only one that burned the midnight oil. I know I am not because I was awake to see them working away just like me. It’s been difficult working trying to carry around an office away from home. It’s enough to take care of Charles while we’re back home in the office. Rounding up folks for conference calls drove me to the edge of insanity but I managed. And I figured out one thing that would make my life easier. I NEED A BLACKBERRY! But now that this trip is over, I don’t know if I would need it as much.

This journey, this movement has moved me, shaken me, stirred up various emotions and feelings in me that I guess in some ways surprised me a bit and made me aware of what other folks with HIV & AIDS go through day in and day out. I am truly grateful and blessed and should never complain. Walking through Newark and Trenton, NJ, and staying in the midst of crack houses in Baltimore’s West Side really brought it home that folks are really being shit on. However a bit of it can be attributed to their vices, but hardly a measly percentage could account for that. These people have been forgotten, lost in some bureaucratic waste basket and left to die basically. You can definitely see where programs and money has been cut from communities that are in extreme desperation for services. It’s amazing what the human spirit can endure. I thought enduring 21 days on the road would be a miracle feat, but to look back on it now and to put it in perspective, it wasn’t so much. My part was small. I was merely a player in an orchestra of voices, people, infected, affected, people who gave a damn, some that didn’t know me, but still cared. They cared because they have friends, family, co-workers that live with this virus, that died because there was no cure and adequate medication had not been developed.

On another note, it was quite refreshing to meet some of these people whom I had been speaking with back and forth, over and over on the phone. It felt like family reunion. I actually anticipated some of the arrivals and listened to them as they got off the caravans, listening to their voices, to see who I could pick out of the crowd. I recall picking out Judith Dillard, Karen Bates, and Thelma Wright the minute I got close enough to hear them speak. And talk about three strong-spirited, tough gals they are. I didn’t get to spent as much time as I would have liked with members of other caravans although I got a lot of hugs and handshakes. That was cool with me.

I have to give a shout out to all Paving the Way caravan members. Through our toil, through our strife, through many disagreements and major fights, sometimes pulling stuff out of mid-air and sometimes out of our ass, we made it, and every one of you need to pat yourselves on your backs for this historical accomplishment. Also to the ones who didn’t care enough to walk for a least 1 day or 1 hour out of a day,  who think they are owed something, and I quote, “Eat Shit, nobody owes you a red-ass dime.” If you want better care, better services, better housing, better training, get off your ass, quit your bitchin’ and DO SOMETHING! This much I have learned. Just remember, I walked for me, but also I walked for you as well. Ok, enough of that.

I am going to write more when the spirit moves me to write. I think I will let the pictures I taken do more talking and I am willing to write. So be on the look-out for uploaded pics; I have tons! To be continued…

Peace, Love, & Light



At 10:17 PM, Blogger tracy bumpus said...


At 5:47 PM, Blogger Nancy Cotto said...

Douglas, thank you for being so patient in this journey we all accomplished. Your words were very touching and inspiring as well as emotional. In the process of showing how determined we all are in fighting the cause you took out the time to get to know folks, and in the process we were able to bound. Many things were accomplished in this journey. WE ALL DID IT. I am glad to have made a new friend. Nancy


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