“Annoy Them…Survive”

Scary Times

I hesitated to write this week’s Ending the HIV Epidemic e-newsletter. Like too many of us, I am angry, scared, concerned, but mostly I am pissed off.  Pissed off because they made me afraid. Afraid because too many things outside of my control can go wrong. I feel helpless and I hate feeling helpless.

At the same time, too many are dead from COVID, particularly within communities of color. There is a vaccine, but the roll-out is another gift from the administration. I know that many in our diverse communities are afraid to get the shot. I understand. Look around us. The world is going to hell in a handbag (I love that phrase) and you want me to take a vaccine that was developed too quickly. No sir, I am not your canary in the mine. For me, I trust Dr. Fauci. If Dr. Fauci says I should take the vaccine, that’s good enough for me. During these difficult times, we have to believe in something, and I believe in science.

The federal government needs 75% to 80% of Americans to get the shots. They will have to rebuild lots of trust with community to reach those types of numbers. That same trust is needed for federal PrEP and U=U efforts to succeed. Too many initiatives (DEBBI) don’t work because they were not centered in community.  Trust is core to the solution; without it we are just another failed attempt to make a square peg fit into a round hole. When the Biden administration says Black Lives Matter, NMAC says prove it by ending the HIV epidemic.

Paycheck Protection Program Latest Round

When putting together this piece, it seemed wrong not to acknowledge the insane situation called life in America; however, its real purpose was to discuss the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program that opened yesterday on January 11th. While it is very similar to the last PPP, please work with your bank to understand the details. Once again it is first come first serve. Once the money runs out there are no guarantees of more funding.

In some way, that’s how I am coping. I have no control over the Proud Boys, but I can make sure that NMAC survives. As my friend Lark Lands used to say, “Annoy them… Survive.”

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata
Paul Kawata