Saturday, October 22, 2005

C2EA American Heritage Caravan

Other world

Leaving the daily routine of my life in seattle and joining the caravan is a bit surreal. Time seems to have shifted into a completely different perception. What the hell am I doing??? The life outside the caravan already seems like a distant shore.
A blur of days and towns and shifting faces looms ahead. Outside the obvious political goals of fully funding the Ryan White act and the audaciousness of the goal, can AIDS really be overcome by us driving to D.C. across towns like Coeur deLane Idaho and Missoula Montana. Well no but that doesn't seem to be the overall point of the event anyway. I'm just coming to grips with what the implications of this journey really are. Connecting with the others dealing with HIV has definately been a big plus. The youthfull energy and idealism of our drivers has been really affirming as well. So maybe this one act this long journey across America will not end the AIDS pandemic but it will bring me much closer to others dealing with this virus and learning to live with all of it's complications. Perhaps I'll learn more than I had bargained for but in the end I think it'll be an experience that changes my perceptions of activism and politics and my individual struggle with the virus.

C2EA American Heritage Caravan

American Heritage Update 1

By Vaughn FrickAmerican Heritage caravan rider for C2EA.

This morning began with the caravan riders and their Portland support crew converging at the HIV day center for a send-off breakfast before the nine of us fit ourselves and our gear snugly into two vans to drive to our first stop in Boise Idaho. Our field coordinator Kaytee had joined us after flying to Portland from Washington, D.C. to help get us started.The caravan riders are Chris, Dan, Jack, Levi, Lowen, Paul, Ricky,and Vaughn. Through a breaking morning fog we drove east as the wooded cliffs of the gorge smoothed into rolling hillscapes, arid summer-burnt desert dotted with color-ripened trees turning towards winter. Late season rains washed the hillsides with a light green velvet before winter's snow. We arrived in Boise at 5:00 p.m. in time for the start of a rally to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in Idaho held on the front steps of the state capitol building; a grand, white marble domed wedding cake edifice built in the old federal style. Laid in rows across the wide steps leading up to the main entrance were 1,245 pairs of empty shoes to represent each person in Idaho living with HIV and AIDS. This event called "Walk in Our Shoes" was created and hosted by Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS {A.L.P.H.A.}to address the financial crises facing those living with HIV and AIDS, of our government's obligation in assisting a vulnerable part of our community, and the day to day reality and necessities that those living with HIV and AIDS need to survive. Postcards were available for event attendees to write a message to their congressional leaders about their concerns for continued funding for HIV and AIDS support services and research to finally end the pandemic. These cards will be sent along with the caravan to present to these leaders in the House and Senate: To demand full re-authorization of the Ryan White care act; To ensure that Medicaid programs continue to meet the vital needs of people living with HIV/AIDS and all other Americans who need this safety net to live; To strengthen the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS by fully funding the the global HIV/AIDS prevention fund; To back debt relief for nations severely gripped by the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic; And to restore and enhance effective HIV/AIDS prevention worldwide based on the best science, instead of fear and regressive ideologies. After several passionate speeches by local officials and activists, each of the American Heritage caravan riders spoke of their personal experiences of living with or assisting in the care of those whose lives are challenged by HIV/AIDS. We told our stories, our hopes, and goals: all spoken from the heart. After the rally ended we all had a lot of empty shoes to collect off the state capitol steps. Around sixty five people attended this rally. We then enjoyed dinner donated by Red Robin across the street in the state capitol park, entertained by two local fire-dancing troupes: Almaen Fuego and Kitty Club Burlesque. The group Drum Central played out a background beat as these talented fire dancers spun flame and carved symbols of fire into evenings approach. Special thanks to our host Duane Quintana, Patricia Kempthorne, wife of the Governor of Idaho, and State Representative Nicole LeFavour.

Paving The Way

where's unka charlie?

rain rain won’t go away.
still paving the way through Pa!

my blisters went away and then the moisture in the air screwed with my knee (compacted it years ago and now it sometime acts up – like my ankles, or shoulder, or wrist that i broke or fractured or sprained). tried walking it off a bit but the pain was too much. a kind cute girl (nameless for liability – ha ha) gave me a pill to ease the pain. was told it was over the counter so i guess it was okay. pain kept me from asking any questions. can’t remember what it was: neosporin, nepraxin, negravin, noodlin, whatever. seemed to work so i started walking. a bit too early for it to really kick in so i waited another twenty minutes or so before i really joined in. no rallies today but we made some quick time and did fifteen miles. all in the rain! ended up being a really great day all in all. the only thing was while getting shuttled to the church (we are staying at) i had ten minutes of excruciating pain in my knee. don’t know why the intense skull crushing eye bleeding bone popping heart stabbing hallucinatory experience. i just used my hidden zen powers of mind over nothing and it floated off to the white house and into some soulless brainless bone sack that supposedly resides there. not that i would ever meaningfully harm or even wish harm upon, say, even satan. but you know sometimes shit happens and sometimes shit happens to people who are killing people all over the planet and making innocent americans help in that evil master plan. . .unless it’s vacation time.
then he lucked out and it went into the sky and turned into rainbows and sunshine for all the caravans trekking to DC!
Fatigue Induced Delirium (infamously coined by Michael Hickey) has obviously set in so i must say


has gone

to bed and so must i

lobs of lub,
eddie fukui

Paving The Way

Goodbye and Safe Travels from Boise!!!!!

Woo! Hoo!

I just wanted to thank The caravan riders Jack, Lowan, Kaytee, Paul, Vaughn,
Dan, Christopher, Ricky, & Levi from Portland and wish them safe journeys.

I am excited to be part of such an amazing movement. We had a visully stunning
event - thanks to the beautiful people who worked so hard on our Rally I would
like to thank Wendy Morgan & Idaho Womens Network, Ellie Merrick and the
Organization for Gender Equality and Education (OGEE) @ Boise State University,
Rachel Olson & Planned Parenthood of Idaho, Christopher Elijah (our Poster
Artist), Mariah Malcolm & HIV Service Clinic, Jusy Thorne @ Northwest AIDS
Educaiton Training Center, Anne Williamson & Lisa Kramer of the STD/AIDS
Program, Kara Hartman & Kelly O'rourke form the Boise State Service Learning
Program, Autumn Hayned and the BSU Women's Center, Brett Berning & the Central
District Health Department, Angela Schonders @ Boise Parks & Rec's, Fran
Matthews & El Ada, Christoprher & his fellow FIRE Dancers, Red Robin In
Meridian, the downtown Chicago Connection, Representive Nicole LeFavour,
Channel 6 news, the first lady of Idaho Patricia Kempthorne, and all the
a.l.p.h.a folks Randi Messer C2EA Rally Coordinator, Travis, Jewel, Jeri,
Shevaun, Trish, Richard, Geno, Alan, Brenda, Brady, Harry, Matthew, Javier,
Ryan, Jenessa, Tiffany, Larkin, Stephanie, and everyone else who attended and
help with the event.

I am happy for our community the C2EA was able to get us mobilized in such a
fashion. I promise this is just the first step in much better direction for
Idaho and for our entire country. We will begin meeting with legislators and
other folks to get our state to step up to our ADAP crisis and then will will
do what we can to ensure the Fedeal governments steps up as well.

I am excited for the partnerships that are beginning, with folks we would not
expect. I want to do whatever I can to make Idaho. my home & my community a
safe and aware place for HIV & AIDS, a compassion that will seep out of our
borders and into neghboring state and through out the country.

HIV & AIDS is something that cannot not be ignored. We need to address it. This
experience has got me to start looking at more then just HIV issues and I think
that is good.

I wish I could be in D.C. to see everyone there, but I know that we have some
great folks who can carry on the my message and the hundreds and probably even
thousands of the silent voices from Idaho to the steps of congrees in D.C.
Remember Caravan Riders the stories, the faces, the spirits you meet along the
way, because we will not forget you. You are hope for so many. I wish you all
the best and thank you, thank you, thank you.

Take care and be safe,
Duane Quintana Executive Director. a.l.p.h.a. Boise

Paving The Way

Day 8

Today I woke up and went straight to starbucks with my running buddy derick. I have to leave today because of other commitments I have back at the office. I will be back marching and chanting oct 31. I am feeling a bit emotional now while going home because of the community that has been built since last week. While I am in new york I will continue to advocate to other people and programs about c2ea and the importance of this march. Until next week I love you all and may God bless you

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

C2EA American Heritage Caravan

AMAZING Boise event on first day of American Heritage Caravan

Reflections will hopefully be posted soon. In the meantime, enjoy these inspiring photos.

Paving The Way

It Is

There’s a lot of talk of greatness, of the things to come and the things that may be: talking about vision and the objects within sight and those remain to be seen. There’s a sense of anticipation but for now there is nothing to anticipate – perhaps one step and the next, but beyond this numbing repetition there is little certain about where we’re going or how we came to be there and what will be done once we arrive.

She grabbed my arm, forty-five degrees from hip to shoulder; she laid her palm delicately against my wrist: a gesture of lightness against the weight of her pain. As we hobbled deliberately our smiles sang and her light-touch grew to allow transference of her burden. Now, I held her with my sway as her legs became enfeebled, but we walked without faltering and we laughed and neither of us gave credence to the reality of our discomfort.

Rolling hills and throbbing feet met voices: Ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around.

Step for step, step for step, step for step. A helpful trick: Heal. Toe. Heal. Toe. Heal, toe (an order),

Aint gonna let nobody turn us around: she sang as she held me, my eyes, coated with tears, turned inward from the pain I saw. “I know his pain,” I thought to myself – and I did. “This is going to be one of those trips,” I offered through gritted teeth. And she held me.

I was wrong. This isn’t one of those ‘those’ trips because they haven’t been and will never be again and as we say to each other when our greatest hopes are challenged, “it is what it is” and nothing is beyond reason or beyond a mechanism of healing.

We are a family of survivors. Once you have survived, you know that defeat is not absolute.

Aint gonna let nobody turn us, but ourselves, and we came too far, too long ago to resign to toe, heal, toe, heal – a backward trot and a downward glance.

We held each other, and that was fine.

Daniel Solon