Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Paving The Way

Housing Works Family

Housing Works Family,

I have been on this journey for 4 days and this is my first opportunity to share what this journey has been like for me.  On Saturday, 10/17/05 I knew that when the sky opened the good Lord was giving his blessing to this biblical journal.  All of the hard work and months of arduous and painstaking planning finally came to fruition.  I won’t kid you…my stomach was in knots as it always is when an event that Housing Works folks have been calling “historic” for months had finally arrived.  Nilsa, my girlfriend whom I love dearly, joined me on the first day of our journey and assured me that morning over and over again that all the hard work would pay off! She was absolutely right on!

The walk through the Lincoln Tunnel was awesome.  I was running back and forth like a manic!  I felt nothing but adrenaline surging through my veins.  Red Bull could never give me what I felt that day.  My energy came from the throng of 500 strong walking through that Tunnel, hearing the collective voices, and feeling the strength of our collective spirits.  Derrick Chandler my compadre and I led the procession through the Tunnel ahead of the police and the marchers and we knew when we saw the light at the end of the Tunnel that this was going to be the journey of a lifetime.

The route along the adjoining towns of New Jersey (Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City) was inspirational.  Everywhere we walked on street corners, in business establishments, private homes and folks driving in there cars were totally supportive.  Urging us on to continue the journey, most if not all of the folks I met wished us success and implored us to “stick it to the man” when we get to Washington.  By the end of the day I was exhausted from running what felt like a mini marathon.  

The day was not without its hitches.  I was in charge of our vehicles and as you all know we have 5 on this trip and it ain’t no joke managing a monster RV, a 22 passenger min-bus, a truck, and 2 passenger vans.  Unfortunately, my RV driver got lost and I ended up chasing that monster down and getting it back on track in time to meet up with the caravan in Jersey City.  Hey as the old adage says “shit happens”.  

Arriving in Jersey City felt like arriving in El Barrio because the minute we entered it I spotted La Conguita a latino restaurant that later in the day a bunch of us went to check out to eat.  Highly recommend it not only for its authentic Cuban cuisine but the prices could not be beat.  Although if you’re a fan of Fidel this is definitely not your place!

The day ended with a rally in front of Jersey City Hall and unfortunately I was not able to sleep overnight.  It was a day filled with so many wonderful memories that I will be talking about with my grandkids for years to come.  We have a bunch of truly dedicated champions participating in this journey and in my heart if hearts I know this is going to be the journey of a lifetime.

Sincerely yours,
Jose Cruz


Paving The Way


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Paving The Way

Hey Everyone

Hey Everyone

Day FOUR!!!! YEHHHHHHHHH...I did it and it was not easy.  Yesterday I was excited today I’m aching...lol...just joking.  I feel real good.  The day started great with some good breakfast, for the first time I tried Grits YUMMY!!!  Well we marched to Rahway prison and we had a Rally and the speakers spoke about there experience in the prison system and it was not cool.  Derrick Chandler spoke about the stigma that goes on there and I felt so bad I don’t want to get into details but it was insane.  My highlight of the day was when I spoke to the youth at Edison, NJ and told them my story real short and quick that was good because I want to speak to more youth and come out about my status and not be afraid the kids were fine and just looked at me and smiled and I wondered what is going on in that boys head, but I hope is good stuff.  Well my duty today was collecting money and boy that was fun and exciting people were generous especially the old ladies at the salon in Rahway, NJ these ladies love me and I love them;=]. But I experienced one bad moment when one lady didn’t even let me enter her store and I explain to her why we were marching and she still did not want to hear about it so I simply started throwing her facts about HIV and the truth and she screamed at me and told me to leave, that is another reason why I need to march to D.C.. Because the stigma that goes on in this country is incredible.  Oh special thanks to my partner Daniel for backing me up.  Anyway I’m sure this doesn’t make sense because I’m like so not in the mood I just want to lie down. But I’m having a good time getting to know the people that are in the caravan with me and everyday I learn something new. Well anyway tomorrow I hope to make you smile because I know this was BORING lol….

Johnny Guaylupo

Paving The Way

Paving the Way, Day Four

Dear Friends,

Today’s report is going to be brief cause my dogs are barking, my throat is sore, and my back aches like you would not believe.  Today was our second 15 mile march, and most of us are really feeling it.  

We started out this morning with a good hot breakfast, cooked by the wonderful folk at Second Baptist Church.  I’m talking scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, and sausage.  Some of you know that I love hot sauce.  Well, Jennifer Steele, Housing Works’ Trinidadian Job Training Coordinator, made me her own special hot sauce for the road, and it flavored the grits like you would not believe.

Joined by our backup crew from New York, we set out for the Rahway Penitentiary, made famous by Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.  We had a brief speak-out there, listening to three of our fellow pilgrims as they described their experience living with AIDS and HIV while incarcerated.  From there, we marched another three miles to Merrill Park in Woodbridge, where we had a picnic provided by a local family.  Then the long march began.  

Much of our route today was on busy highway, with us clinging to the nearly non-existent shoulder or walking on what substituted for a sidewalk as the eighteen-wheelers roared by.  We entertained ourselves by getting them to honk to and AIDS and with a great new chant and a new song.  The new chant goes as follows:

Left.  Left.  Left, Right, Left.
My back is ach’n, my shoes too tight,
But we ain’t gonna give up the fight.
Bush has got the powa
To end AIDS now!

And our new song:

Hi ho, Hi ho
To Washington we go
We’re paving the way
For the end of AIDS
Hi ho, hi ho

We have two people who are deaf on our caravan, so we had great fun today translating our new song into American Sign Language.  We still need lots of practice, but we should have it down pat by the time we get to DC.

The highlight of the day was meeting with representatives of the Edison chapter of the NAACP and a dozen teenagers from the Job Corps.  We spent a half hour talking with the youth about AIDS and C2EA, with different folk, including Johnny, who chairs C2EA’s Youth Caucus, sharing their own experiences with them.  These folk joined us in marching the last four miles of the day, escorting us safely to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, were we are staying at the Second Reformed Church.  

There are two showers, but we are they don’t work.  Right now we are all too exhausted to care.  But marching on the road all day, we have discovered a new hazard of urban camping.  We’ve named it “Halls spit”.  Don’t ask unless you really want to know.


Charles King

Paving The Way


As I write this I’m hurting in some much neglected spaces of my body. I’m conflicted between visions of a tongue-flagging, road-kill dear and hawks gracing the tips of ancient trees: the sublime in morbid and divine manifestation.

As I write this, hunched over a laptop computer in a New Brunswick church’s gym, there’s the pounding of men’s drums and to counter, the shrill calls of exhausted women, demanding a cease to the resounding clamor.

As I write this, people are revealing their inner selves with ease and understated profundity. Our day: Every step challenges barriers that separate us, as we find our effort to be a force of unity, acting on us as we act upon the earth.

As I write this, I know the world is revolving for the better. From the eyes and gestures of the people surrounding me, I’ve gained deeper understanding of regeneration, patience, and a new respect for an old cliché: hope.

If sincerity were a drug, I would gladly overdose as I write this.

Daniel Solon

Today was the 4th day of marching. I woke up this morning and did push ups with charles king. I also found a starbucks with my running buddy Derick. Today we march about 14 miles. The longer I stay here and march the more the I want to stay and finish

God bless
Andrew Ross
Sent via BlackBerry - a service from AT&T Wireless.

Paving The Way


Fatigue Induced Delirium

Tuesday October 18, 2005

C2EA – Day 4


Where to begin? Simply, an exhausting day. I can remember as a young boy of 17 coming home from an eight-hour dance workshop completely exhausted and wanting nothing more than to sleep for a week. The exhaustion was fueled with the knowledge that I was to get up and do the same thing the next day. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would ever top that feeling, which of course was before the C2EA.

These past two days have motivated me to create a new diagnostic category - fatigue induced delirium. Around the seventh hour of walking I have observed this band of travelers begin to laugh uncontrollably, bark unexpectedly and unable to speak in complete sentences.

For those of you who care, I am using my digital camera. The oddest thing is occurring, (and I do not believe that this is a symptom of fatigue induced delirium as it happens too early in the day) I find myself taking random shots of road signs, why I do not understand. I can only presume that unconsciously I fear getting lost and those pictures are going to be my map home.

Let us hope that tomorrow will be an easier day.


Michael Hickey

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

Paving The Way

Hi from Derrick

This is Derrick again, I had to stop my entry because I needed to make a Starbucks run. As I said in my earlier entry my day yesterday was very interesting. We started off in the renovated firehouse. I was converted into a combination counseling center for children infected with HIV/AIDS and art studio/gallery. Some of the paintings that was done by the children was unbelievable. In addition to the paintings there were also beautiful photographs. I’m the designated “get something from the truck” person. All kinds of things, water, flyers, banners, flag poles (we have flags of all 50 states plus the flag of the United States. Before we  hit the road every morning we align the flag bearers in front of the procession, immediately followed by the folks carrying the banners, with the rest of us bringing up the rear. Another of my duties is to Marshal, not Marshal like Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke (you oldtimers remember Gunsmoke) The kind of marshaling I’m speaking of is to stay in front of the crowd to make sure, along with our police dept. escort, that everyone crosses any intersections we come upon. This message got interrupted just now because I had to laugh. Someone sitting at the table having breakfast started talking about the symphony we had going last night. The symphony I’m referring to is the SNORERS. Oh my god! These folks snore something fierce. Back to my message, yesterday we started our day at Newark, City Hall.The mayor of Newark,
Mr. Sharp Stinky Don’t Come to any HIV Rally James was a no show at the rally. We didn’t let that stop us. We finished our rally and continued on to Elizabeth. It was a really long walk but the weather was gorgeous. I have so much more to talk about. I need to do this at night instead of in the morning because there is just to much to do in the morning. I’ll see you guys & gals later. This is Derrick Chandler from Housing Works Advocacy Dept signing off. With love, stay strong.  

this is an audio post - click to play

Paving The Way

Amazing Day

Today was the first full day of walking and it was incredibly tiring but we were all so inspired by the people we met along the way and the support we were given by strangers. It was so worthwhile and I can only look forward to the days ahead. They are going to be so tough and grueling but we all feel that we are making a difference.

We walked through to Rahway today and were able to see the most beautiful areas and houses as well as communities that were run down and in need. All along the way we received welcome and it was truly inspiring. If there is anyone that is still on the fence about joining, if even for a day/night, it is well worth it. Come and support your fellow workers as well as your peers in the AIDS activist community - if you have never been able place a feeling or a face to this devastating disease that affects or infects all of us in some way, you will find it among us. On this march, for 21 days, we are the faces of AIDS.

Many thanks to those who have participated and to those who have so generously opened their hearts and establishments to us. We were able to take showers today!

Dianalynn Bodero
Vice President
Human Resources
Housing Works Inc.

Paving The Way

Emilio Journal

We kicked off the march by crossing the Hudson River on foot via the Lincoln Tunnel. A very rare feat as Housingworks is one of three groups having done this on foot anyway. We spent the first overnight stay in Jersey City at the Boys and Girls Club,
Sunday morning’s sermon by Janet Broderick at Grace Van Vorst Church
On 1st Thess. Chap. 1; 1-10 inspired me.
/we marched on to Kearny, Newark, rallied at Newark
We spent the Sunday night at the Firehouse with Dr. Terrace Zealand and
His family. They opened their hearts and facility to Housingworks and our
Marchers. Annie prepared a wonderful meal for us. The Firehouse is wonderful facility for Orphans. They can use help with funding, and that very quickly.
I have to attend Tuesday October 18, 2005, morning breakfast at Second Baptist Church Rahway, NJ. 8:05 A.M.
Goodbye for now Emilio Ortega JTP/East 9th

Paving The Way

Today is the forth day

Today is the forth day
I’m kind of upset because I put all my feeling andstory

on the voice blog and none of them are on the blog. Robin just told me that IT IS NOT WORKING. I miss my boss Andrew and my co-worker that are not here. André I know that André is giving me a big shot out for me and all of us. Monica I miss you a lot. Errol I miss you a lot.               
Diane Williams

Paving The Way

Good morning

Good morning,
Its 7:05 AM, I woke up about 6AM
I had a pretty interesting day yesterday, I’m not sure what my exact duties are because I’m one of the organizers of this adventure. By the way, this is Derrick Chandler, I should have introduced myself first, my apologizes. Anyway, I’ll be back, I’m getting ready to make a Starbucks run, Yay!