Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Blacks Talk About AIDS at City Forum
by Andrew Davis
2005-08-01

This article shared 4162 times since Mon Aug 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Social justice, self-esteem, and the church were just a few of the topics discussed during 'The Time Is Now: Confronting HIV/AIDS in the African-American Community,' a thought-provoking forum presented by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Chicago Foundation for Women. The event took place June 21 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, in a packed auditorium.

Gwen Ifill, a longtime political reporter who is senior correspondent of PBS's Newshour with Jim Lehrer, served as moderator. She is probably best known for stumping then-vice presidential candidates Dick Cheney and John Edwards on the question concerning AIDS during a debate she moderated.

The panelists for the event were Cathy J. Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Chicago; Phill Wilson, founder and executive director of Los Angeles's Black AIDS Institute; and Dr. Kimberly Y. Smith, an associate professor of medicine in the infectious diseases section at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center.

From the start, the panelists gave strong remarks to the questions Ifill asked. Her first inquiry referred to the question she asked Cheney and Edwards: 'I phrased the question by saying 'I want to talk to you about AIDS—not about AIDS in China or Africa but right here in this country, where Black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely of the disease than their counterparts. What should the government's role be in helping to end the growth of this epidemic?' What should their answers have been?'

Cohen responded that funding of Medicaid and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ( ADAP ) was crucial; she also said that education funding was needed. Cohen also commented that the spread of AIDS in the Black community is not just related to condoms; she said that 'it's also about having a job, [ about ] economic dependence, and the lack of access to education.' Wilson, in mentioning 'accountability and responsibility,' made several recommendations about what the government should immediately do, including making sure that HIV policy follows the science by establishing comprehensive prevention efforts ( such as condoms in prisons and needle-exchange programs ) ; dealing correctly with the treatment paradigm ( at one point, saying that 'the government thinks that testing is prevention ... it is not prevention' ) ; and addressing issues regarding stigma.

Smith addressed research and treatment issues while stating that ' [ i ] t's an abomination to have any state where there's a waiting list for ADAP.' She also pointed out that in Mississippi, legislation was recently passed that restricts HIV-positive Medicaid recipients to two brand-name HIV medications—while the standard recommendation is three. Regarding research, she stressed the need for funding, opining that 'we know all we could ever want to know about gay white men, but we don't really know anything about people of color.'

In discussing domestic versus foreign ( specifically, Africa ) -related aid, Wilson said he could not comprehend why it had to be an 'either-or' situation. 'It's simply the tail wagging the dog,' he commented. 'There's AIDS in Africa and AIDS in America.'

He also noted that Blacks 'are dealing with an epidemic that is already a catastrophic health disaster. It is estimated that 50 percent of Black gay men are HIV-positive ... . This epidemic is impacting our housing issues, economic development issues [ and ] civil-rights issues. ... Each and every one of us needs to [ be our own ] champions.'

Cohen added that other topics that needed to be addressed include the exploding incarceration rate and the denial of education to young African Americans; 'it's about social mobilization,' she said. She also noted that 'the Bush administration will not have any interest in Africa once [ the situation in ] Iraq is over.'

Smith initially addressed a question regarding the role of behavior in the exponential increase of HIV/AIDS cases. 'You come back to issues of poverty, homelessness and—for women in particular—dependence on men. Women are put in positions where they are powerless to say no. An 18-year-old will come in, having been sexually active since 14—and with many, many older men. A 65-year-old woman will come in who hasn't been sexually active for many, many years but whose last partner had a history of drug use. All of these stories are about what's going on in our community.'

Wilson said that the epidemic has happened over time and he used a colorful metaphor to illustrate his point. 'Imagine that there's a white swimming pool and a Black swimming pool and each has a shark in it,' he said. 'In the white pool, they react to the shark; in the Black one, they add more sharks. So what happens is that, even if the Black folks swim less often, it's a riskier place to swim.' ( In response, Cohen said that she 'might not ever swim again,' to which Ifill replied 'Well, you know we have flotation problems.' )

In getting back to the issue, Cohen stated that 'we have to make it so that young Black people value their lives—even if no one else does.'

Things did not turn any less controversial or lively during the audience Q&A session. Audience members were invited to write questions on index cards that were then submitted to Ifill.

For example, while discussing the church, Cohen generated applause by stating that the majority of Black churches have failed African Americans. She added that 'the church has to have a role. The question is, how do you hold the church accountable so the leaders can be progressive? I've spent the last 25 years trying to engage Black ministers. ... Maybe it's time to create an alternative institution so we can do much more radical work.' However, some attendees also applauded when Wilson said that he's 'not ready to give up on the Black church.' Smith noted how 'you can not line up Black ministers to talk about AIDS, but look how quickly they lined up behind the bashing of gay marriage.'

To no one's surprise, Ifill proved to be an effective moderator, adding humor while ensuring that the forum ran smoothly. At one point she quipped, 'I've been called a rock star in the AIDS community for asking Cheney and Edwards the AIDS question. I would've been a bigger star if they had answered it.'

Michelle Obama, wife of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and Vice-President for Community and External Affairs for the University of Chicago Hospitals, delivered opening remarks and introduced Ifill. While she thanked those already engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS, she also expressed hope that the evening's forum would compel those not involved to do the same. 'The urgency and importance of the issue can't be overstated,' she said.

Among the event's sponsors were the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, GlaxoSmithKline, Marshall Field's Gives, and the Chicago chapter of the National Black MBA Association.


This article shared 4162 times since Mon Aug 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

HIV criminal laws disproportionately impact Black men in Mississippi
2024-02-21
--From a press release - A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that at least 43 people in Mississippi were arrested for HIV-related crimes between 2004 and 2021. Half of all arrests in the state ...


Gay News

'West Side Story' gets a sex-positive spin with new burlesque show
2024-02-19
In partial observance of National Condom Day, which was Feb. 14, Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) presented A West Side Story Burlesque at the Harris Theater for two hour-long performances on Feb. 17. The show, ...


Gay News

$200,000+ raised at AIDS Foundation Chicago's World of Chocolate Fundraiser to fight HIV/AIDS
2024-02-13
--From a press release - (Chicago, IL) More than 950 guests gathered at Chicago's famed Union Station (500 W. Jackson) for Chicago's Sweetest Fundraiser, AIDS Foundation Chicago's (AFC), World of Chocolate on Friday, February 9. ...


Gay News

THEATER Dot-Marie Jones talks Goodman production, 'Glee,' 'Bros'
2024-02-12
Running through Feb. 18 at the the Goodman Theatre, the production Highway Patrol works with a script conceived entirely from Emmy-winning actor Dana Delany's (TV's China Beach) digital archive of hundreds of tweets and direct messages ...


Gay News

Munar prepares to step away from Howard Brown leadership
2024-02-11
After 10 years of leadership at Howard Brown Health, President and CEO David Ernesto Munar has decided to step down from his post on Feb. 29. Munar, who'd previously been president and CEO of AIDS Foundation ...


Gay News

Chicagoans indulge in a World of Chocolate
2024-02-11
AIDS Foundation of Chicago hosted its 2024 World of Chocolate celebration the evening of Feb. 9 at Union Station. Top chocolatiers from across the city allowed guests to sample numerous confections, hors d'oevres and libations for ...


Gay News

Pritzker Military Library to close in July, move to Wisconsin
2024-02-08
On Feb. 7, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced that it is closing its downtown Chicago location on July 27 and moving to an archives center in Wisconsin later this year, according to The Chicago ...


Gay News

National Black Justice Coalition commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
2024-02-07
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, Feb. 7, marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). In commemoration, Dr. David J. Johns, CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a leading Black LGBTQ+/same-gender ...


Gay News

SAVOR Chocolatier Uzma Sharif on being part of World of Chocolate
2024-02-03
AIDS Foundation Chicago will hold its annual World of Chocolate event on Friday, Feb. 9, at 6 p.m. at Union Station, 500 W. Jackson Blvd. Attendees will embark on a global tour of chocolate—but there will ...


Gay News

ART Champaign display looks at the Midwest Black lesbian experience
2024-02-03
In Illinois, archival photos are the centerpiece of a new display at the Krannert Art Museum focusing on the Black lesbian experience in the Midwest, IPM reported. The new solo exhibition by St. Louis-based artist Jen ...


Gay News

Leather Archives & Museum announces 2024 Fetish Film Forum
2024-01-27
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois—After a wildly successful inaugural year, including a 10-film series at the Leather Archives & Museum and a 5-film series at FACETS, the Leather Archives & Museum is thrilled to announce the continuation of Fetish ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Wis. report, gender dysphoria, HIV research, Stonewall exhibit, gay CEOs
2024-01-19
A new annual report from Wisconsin's Office of Children's Mental Health shows that the state's minors—especially girls, children of color and LGBTQ+ youth—continue to struggle with anxiety, depression and thoughts ...


Gay News

WORLD Activist honored, marriages in Estonia, Madrid law, trans sports item
2024-01-05
Video below - The National AIDS Commission (NAC) recently honored Caleb Orozco—a leading figure in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Belize—for his instrumental contributions to the national HIV response, BNN reported. According ...


Gay News

SAVOR World of Chocolate, Jaleo and 'Superhot'
2023-12-31
World of wonder: I am excited to announce that I will be a judge at AIDS Foundation Chicago's World of Chocolate fundraiser! Join me in sampling delicious chocolate from local chefs and help support a great ...


Gay News

WORLD Brianna Ghey, archbishops, HIV, George Michael, Albanian women
2023-12-29
A boy and a girl, each 16, were found guilty of murdering a transgender teenager in northwest England earlier this year in a knife attack, per a Yahoo! News item that cited the AP. Brianna Ghey, ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.