Honoring the life of U.S. Congressman John Lewis

Throughout my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with countless members of Congress on an array of LGBT civil rights bills: Senator Ted Kennedy, Rep. Barney Frank, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Jim Clyburn – while these distinguished leaders are heroes in their own right, my greatest honor was working with Rep. John Lewis.

Congressman Lewis recognized that oppression of a few is oppression for all.

Imagine if you will being a gay black man living with HIV in the ’80s.  The oppressing societal stigmas are dire.  Like a carpenter sanding 100-year-old floors, Congressman Lewis removed decades of stain from our souls.  For as long as he served in Congress, no civil rights bills were passed without his support.

Congressman Lewis recognized that in order for civil rights to be achieved, we must be vocal and vigilant.  His vision also included standing alongside LGBTQ Americans during their struggles for equality.  Mr. Lewis was extraordinarily passionate about LGBTQ Americans, particularly people of color.  He recognized the stigma gay black and brown Americans faced in their own communities – and he led an historic effort to change perceptions.

I remember the contentious debate over the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).  Those of us who were the architects of that historic legislation were very much aware that former President George W. Bush had every intention of vetoing the bill, but that mattered not for Congressman Lewis. In fact, he was adamant that for laws like ENDA to be enacted, the LGBT community needed his voice. And it is because of the powerful voice of Congressman Lewis that we were able to pass this landmark bill – the first LGBT civil rights bill to pass Congress. I invite you to watch Congressman Lewis’s speech and listen to his words.

It didn’t end there. While Congressman Lewis was instrumental with the successful passage of major laws like the Matthew Shepard and James D. Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the reversal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” he championed several lesser known, but very important pieces of legislation like:

  • Respect for Marriage Act (bill to repeal DOMA)
  • Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act
  • Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act
  • Equal Access to COBRA Act
  • Family Leave Insurance Act
  • Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act
  • Early Treatment for HIV Act
  • Uniting American Families Act
  • Reuniting American Families Act
  • Every Child Deserves a Family Act
  • Student Non-Discrimination Act
  • Safe Schools Improvement Act
  • Healthy Families Act
  • Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act

Quite a record.

Like millions of Americans, all of us at NMAC deeply mourn his passing.  We recognize that COVID-19 may prohibit you from paying your respects to Congressman Lewis, his family, and staff. I invite everyone who wishes to express their love for Congressman Lewis to email me your comments. I’ll forward them to Michael, his Chief of Staff.

Finally, as we part with this larger than life hero, let us continue to fight for full equal rights – even if that fight includes #GoodTrouble.

Yours in the struggle,
Joe Racalto

COVID-19 Update Webinar Thursday, July 16, 1 PM (Eastern)/11 AM (Pacific)

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing. Our next webinar is an update on the new virus and the work that is being done in response.  Dr. Stephaun E. Wallace* from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will lead the discussion. The webinar will provide an update on the COVID-19 vaccine trials and what that means to communities. NMAC is working with the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) to bring our movement the latest information. In addition to webinars, the CoVPN will host workshops at this year’s United States Conference on HIV/AIDS. As a friendly reminder, the Abstract Deadline is July 17th.

The COVID-19 webinar is on Thursday, July 16th at 1 PM (Eastern)/11 AM (Pacific). All of NMAC’s webinars are free and open to everyone. Webinars not only provide information, they train staff and potential USCHA attendees on various technology platforms being used for distance learning.The COVID-19 Prevention Network (COVPN) was established by merging four existing NIAID-funded clinical trials networks: the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), based in Seattle; the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), based in Durham, N.C.; the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC), based in Atlanta; and the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, based in Los Angeles, along with other collaborators. It is important to point out how the HIV research infrastructure is supporting the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Treatment education, whether it’s about HIV or COVID-19, is core to our work. Both viruses are infectious diseases that disproportionately impact People of Color. Solutions to ending either epidemic depend upon effective treatments and/or a vaccine. As we have learned in HIV, having tools that work is only the first step. You have to be able to convince people to take the drugs or get the vaccine. That is a complex challenge. Our unequal medical infrastructure combined with a mistrust of the government can create real barriers to ending either epidemic. Black Lives Matter is about addressing these inequities in our society. The color of your skin should not impact your access to medical care and it should not determine your belief in government but, for too many, it does.

Yours in the struggle,

*Dr. Stephaun E. Wallace is a research epidemiologist and an internationally recognized public health/social justice leader with more than 20 years of sexual/public health experience with diverse populations including LGBTQ and MSM populations, and more than 25 years of social justice/community mobilization experience. Dr. Wallace serves as the Director of External Relations for the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (CoVPN) and HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), a Staff Scientist in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Fred Hutch, and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington.

Virtual HIV Jobs Fair at USCHA 2020, Oct 19-21

America is hurting, more people are unemployed, and the future is uncertain. This year’s United States Conference on HIV/AIDS will hold a Virtual HIV Jobs Fair. The meeting is free for the first 4,000 participants; however, you will need to register because we are almost sold out.

What Is A Virtual HIV Jobs Fair?
USCHA and our online jobs bank are working to be a “central” depository for HIV job openings, particularly jobs created to end the HIV epidemic in America. With over $300 million in new funding just for this year, our movement will have thousands of new professional full-time positions.

A virtual HIV jobs fair is our response to the need to be socially distant while looking for employment. Specific times will be set aside during the 2020 conference for participants to go the Virtual Exhibit Hall to meet with organizations with job openings. NMAC is giving free exhibit booths to the 57 jurisdictions that are targeted in this federal effort. Since these health departments will receive the lion’s share of the new funding, they or other organizations in their jurisdictions will have the most jobs to fill.

Participants attending the virtual jobs fair will be able to download job openings and upload their resume. They can also schedule Zoom informational interviews. Access to a computer or smartphone and the internet will be needed to participate.

Jobs=Racial Justice
Full time professional employment for the communities hardest hit by HIV equals racial and social justice for communities disproportionately impacted by racism, transphobia, homophobia, and sexism. We have the ability to transform the discussion of racial justice in America by just doing our jobs and hiring people from the communities hardest hit by HIV.

When NMAC set out to work with the administration to end the epidemic, our unstated goal was jobs and economic development for communities that shoulder the greatest burden of the epidemic. As we all know, our work to end HIV will only happen when we reach people living with HIV, people of color, gay men, Black women, drug users, and the transgender community.

Hiring People from Communities Hardest Hit by HIV
In our fight for racial justice, it is important for employers to understand the impact that racism has on the communities our efforts need to reach. College and previous professional employment are not a reality for too many in our communities. Drug and sex worker arrests are too common in communities that are over policed and under protected. White standards for employment are how our world keeps White people in leadership.

Sometimes you have to take a risk and hire staff who may not have all the paper credentials but do have the life experience. For many government agencies this is impossible. That is why it is important to outsource funding to community-based organizations set up by and for those communities. If we’ve learned nothing else, the last weeks/months have shown the great distrust between people and their government.

USCHA Needs Workshops on Recruiting & Hiring
To support people looking for jobs and to help organizations looking to hire, USCHA needs abstracts on the following topics:

  • Resume Writing for People with Nontraditional Work Experiences
  • How to Apply for Federal Employment
  • How to Recruit Leaders from Communities Hardest Hit by HIV
  • Returning to Work Force After an Extended Absence

Abstracts are due July 17th. Please consider submitting abstracts to help people find new jobs or for employers to learn how to recruit from hard to reach communities.

We are living in strange and unusual times. Between COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, we are asked to reexamine our relationships to health and race. Since HIV sits in that same intersection, our future work can either demonstrate that we have learned the lessons or that history will repeat itself until we do.

Yours in the struggle,

 

 

 

 

USCHA Needs Your Help – Abstracts Due July 17

The United States Conference on HIV/AIDS had over 1,200 registrations on the first day and 2,100 registrations one week later. Now we need your help. At its core, USCHA is a peer to peer training opportunity that prioritizes community learning from the experiences of other communities. The 2020 meeting will have 60 workshops and we hope you will submit an abstract. Please register for the 1 PM (eastern) July 2nd webinar on Abstract Submissions.

Tracks for the 2020 meeting include: Race, Federal Track, HIV Prevention During COVID-19, HIV Care & Wrap Around Services During COVID-19, Next Steps for Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE), Reaching Communities Hardest Hit by HIV, HIV Policy, Community Organizing during COVID-19, Expanding HIV Services to Address COVID-19 Testing, and Track En Espanol.Last week more than 600 people registered to attend one of the three webinars that NMAC hosted to discuss the virtual platform and to get feedback on priority workshops. Attendees shared that they wanted workshops that address:

  1. How to provide HIV services in a COVID-19 world, and
  2. What does Black Lives Matter mean to the HIV Movement?
How to Provide HIV Services in a COVID-19 World
Per feedback received, attendees are looking for guidance on what HIV services they should prioritize and how to provide those services. Community especially wants and needs guidance from funders about what they will support in the next iteration of our work. Here are some of the topics that were suggested:
  • How to Reopen and Keep Your Staff and Clients Safe
  • Liability Issues if Someone Gets COVID-19
  • How to do HIV Testing, Treatment, Care, and Wrap Around Services
  • Providing Services to People Over 50 Living with HIV
  • Mental Health and Depression Challenges
  • Reaching the Transgender Community
  • Next Steps for Ending the HIV Epidemic in a COVID-19 World

Please consider submitting an abstract if you have experience on any of these topics. USCHA has guaranteed workshop slots for HHS, CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA, IHS, OAR, NIAID, and HUD. We’ve asked them to address their agency’s vision for moving forward during these challenging times. Additionally, there will be a Federal Village in the virtual Exhibit Hall.

What does Black Lives Matter mean to the HIV Movement?
Participants on the webinars also said they were looking for concrete steps for their agencies to stand in support of Black Lives Matter. Everyone agreed that the work starts with education about race and racism. Here are topics participants said they would like as workshops:

  • Understanding Race and Racism
  • Learning About White Privilege
  • What is Unconscious Bias and How Does it Impact HIV Service Delivery?
  • Policies and Procedures that Build Antiracist Organizations
  • Staff Training Needs on Race and Black Lives Matter

Workshops are one hour long. The first 30 minutes will be recorded in advance and the last 30 minutes will be a “live” Questions & Answers during the meeting. The “data” section for workshops will be recorded starting after Labor Day (September 7th) until the first week of October. Presenters will be required to sign a release that allows USCHA to put the workshop online for up to one year. Handouts and PowerPoint presentations will be uploaded to the conference platform for attendees to download starting on October 19th.

Each workshop will be assigned a technical assistance lead staff. This individual will work with abstract presenters on their recordings and facilitate the “live” portion of the workshops on Oct 19-21. Workshops will be recorded on Zoom, then transferred to the USCHA platform. In August, USCHA will host a webinar and provide a training manual for presenters. Our goal is to support presenters to create amazing workshops.

As you can read, virtual workshops require much more advance work. This is not something that can be done on the plane to the meeting. Thousands of people will attend this year’s meeting, and even more will view it online after. USCHA needs your help to make this a memorable and informative experience. Thank you.

 

Yours in the struggle,

 

The HIV Movement’s Problem with Race

NMAC logoNMAC (formerly National Minority AIDS Council) was founded in 1987 because minorities were disproportionately impacted by a new retrovirus. Back in the ’80s, AIDS was labeled a “White gay disease.” We created NMAC to give voice to People of Color. While much has changed, HIV health outcomes continue to expose our movement’s problem with race. In America the color of your skin greatly determines your HIV health outcome. People of Color are the majority of new cases of HIV,  the majority of people living with HIV, and  the majority of people who die from HIV. Yet 75% of the people on PrEP are White. Since PrEP is the major tool used to prevent HIV, the results of HIV’s demographics are more than mathematical; they are racist.

We’ve worked together for over 30 years, I’m not here to blame or shame, but to speak truth to our movement at a critical point in history. As our nation grapples with systemic racism highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement, it is important to remember that people living with HIV, people on PrEP, staff, boards, constituents, donors, and peers are watching. Will you be the leader your agency/movement needs to get us through these troubled times? Our movement needs to reexamine what justice and success mean in a world after COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the unemployment of 40 million Americans that turned into a recession.

Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible-
even if you’re choking on it-until you let the sun in. Then you can see it’s everywhere.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Over $300 million in new HIV federal funding to end the HIV epidemic (EHE) is hitting the streets. This translates into thousands of new jobs and hundreds of new contracts for community-based organizations and others. Are federal agencies and health departments ready to distribute these funds in a fair and equitable way? Black Lives Matter is a call for justice for communities who too often are overlooked and ignored.

In addition to HIV health outcomes, our movement also lacks people of color in leadership positions. The Black AIDS Institute did a survey that found “White people hold 67% of the senior leadership positions in AIDS service organizations.” Questions about race, gender, gender identity, and the sexual orientation of our leadership are part of the much wider discussion on equity, fairness and justice for communities who suffered from generational racism and oppression. To be clear, I’m not saying fire all the White people. I am saying that White leaders working in the HIV field have a unique responsibility to address race and how they will work to dismantle racist systems.

It’s not just the leadership. Too many People of Color-focused HIV organizations have closed over the last 10 years. Just as we become the majority of the HIV epidemic, the agencies that were founded and led by People of Color are closing. Most of the initial funding for these agencies came from the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI). Slowly, that money has been redirected and no longer prioritizes People of Color agencies per its original intent.

What role does racial bias play when reviewing funding requests from People of Color organizations? This bias was recently acknowledged by the University of California when they stopped using SAT or ACT scores for college admission because of the racial bias of those tests. This matters to the HIV movement because we are about to distribute millions in new funding. Look at who gets funded to understand how systems are biased against people of color and the organizations they run. If we keep operating in the same ways, how can we expect different results? It is not enough to make a statement supporting Black Lives Matter. Now is the time to create and implement systems that value the leaders and communities hardest hit by HIV.

This is where the hard work begins. Community-based organizations, health departments, national organizations, and federal HIV agencies who want to end the HIV epidemic must address racism and its structural impact on America’s HIV outcomes. The work to build antiracist institutions starts with education. Understanding White privilege, unconscious implicit bias, and structural racism are essential before building plans.

We are not any kind of role model. NMAC started our journey to build an anti-racist organization with the People’s Institute and their trainings on Undoing Racism for the agency’s board and staff. We had to educate ourselves before we could identify the changes needed at NMAC. This year there is a Track on Race at the United States Conference on HIV/AIDS. Your staff can discuss, argue, and hopefully better understand race and how it impacts HIV prevention, treatment, and care. At times this process can be very painful. Our movement has decades of history and misunderstandings.

NMAC was formed in 1987 because minorities were disproportionately impacted by AIDS. We are not going away. We are resolute in our commitment to ending HIV in a post COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the unemployment of 40 million Americans world.

Yours in the struggle,

 

 

 

 

 

USCHA is Virtual & Free Online Oct. 19-21, 2020

The 2020 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS will be virtual and free for the first 4,000 registrations*. You can find the latest information at the USCHA website or register for one of our June 25th webinars:

10:00 am Eastern time
1:00 pm Eastern time
3:00 pm Eastern time

The 2020 meeting will have five plenaries, 60 workshops, 14 institutes, and a Virtual Exhibit Hall. Workshops and plenaries will be online after the meeting for everyone to view for free.

The 2020 meeting tackles the seismic shifts that are changing our world. COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter have forever changed our work and the delivery of HIV prevention, care, treatment, and wrap around services. Consider submitting a workshop abstract on how your agency is responding. The meeting will have 10 different tracks. The deadline for abstract submission is July 17th.

The meeting is free because it seemed tone deaf to ask for money when so many nonprofits are hurting and there are over 40 million people unemployed. Free registrations* are for community and only possible because our 2020 sponsors stepped up and continued to support the meeting. NMAC thanks our Presenting Sponsor Gilead, along with ViiV Healthcare, Janssen, Merck, and our Federal Partners, including the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. While registration is free, NMAC will ask for donations. You do not have to give, but I hope you will consider making a donation. Even with the sponsor fees, the board had to approve deficit spending to keep the agency whole during these challenging times.

The murder of George Floyd was another in a too long list of wake-up calls that Black Lives Matter. The issue is bigger than just the police. It was also a wake-up call for the HIV movement. The majority of people living with HIV are people of color and the majority of people on PrEP are white. Our HIV outcomes document the challenges that race plays in our field. NMAC challenges community-based organizations, health departments, health centers, national organizations and federal agencies to create and implement strategic plans to build antiracist HIV institutions.

New programs at the 2020 USCHA include a Virtual Jobs Fair. Over 40 million people are unemployed. USCHA hopes to bring people needing jobs together with the HIV organizations who are hiring. Over $300 million in new funding was in the 2020 federal budget to end the HIV epidemic and that means thousands of new jobs. NMAC is giving free booths to the 57 jurisdictions targeted to receive this money so they or organizations in those jurisdictions can share job openings. Hire people from the communities your efforts hope to reach, particularly people in senior leadership positions.

Virtual conferences are another result of COVID-19. While we’ve gotten more adept at Zoom calls, virtual conferences are new. NMAC will host a series of webinars to help attendees get the most out of the meeting. Please register now (space is limited) for the first webinar on June 25th. This webinar will go over plans for the 2020 meeting and seek your input into this new adventure. Future webinars include 1) how to submit an abstract, 2) how to set-up a virtual exhibit booth, 3) how to record a virtual workshop, 4) how to participate in a virtual jobs fair, and 5) how to get the most out of a virtual conference.

Given these turbulent times, USCHA has decided to return to our 2017 theme, Family Reunion II. Family are more than blood. They are the people you want to hug when you should be socially distant. NMAC remains committed to Puerto Rico. The 2022 USCHA will be in San Juan on Oct 10-13, 2022 and there will be a Spanish language track at this year’s meeting. This Friday is Juneteenth and NMAC will be closed. On this day we celebrate the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans by the Confederacy.

Yours in the struggle,

 

 

 

 

*Free registrations are for people living with HIV/AIDS, people on PrEP, activists, community organizers, students and people working or volunteering at nonprofits, community-based organizations, national organizations, health departments, health centers, universities, researchers, or health professionals. Per federal regulations and at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NMAC cannot offer free registrations to federal employees. The registration fee is $250 for federal employees and employees of for-profit companies.

The Indian Health Service and the Albuquerque Indian Health Board, with resources from the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, and in partnership with NMAC, will offer free registration for USCHA. The free registration applies to (1) U.S. federal- and state-recognized tribal members/citizens, employees, contractors, and volunteers; (2) U.S.-based Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders; and (3) others directly affiliated with those communities.

The Reckoning

There is a reckoning coming to America about its legacy of racism. However, it is not limited to the police. This reckoning is about the systemic racism that impacts all facets of society, including the HIV movement. Unfortunately, HIV disproportionately impacts people of color, people with trans experience, black women, and gay men. How do we build an antiracist HIV movement that is committed to Black Lives Matter?

This weekend I joined thousands of people who protested on the streets of DC. Walking with my mask, I was amazed at the diversity. Families of all races, all genders, and all sexual orientations came together in a peaceful protest. It was actually more like a celebration. People were dancing, drumming, singing, and chanting. There were no leaders, just concerned citizens who felt compelled to make their voices heard, even in the middle of COVID-19. I heard one father explain to his child that they were there to witness history and to fight to make the world a better place.

I just so happened to arrive when DC Mayor Muriel Bowser stepped on to Black Lives Matter Plaza. It was an honor to see her amazing protest art in front of the White House. Her leadership as a Black woman at this critical moment added to the peaceful and celebratory nature of the protests. She was a rock star and I honor her vision, strength, and courage to step up and be heard. I also loved that her mask matched her t-shirt.

The HIV movement, like the rest of the world, has some serious soul searching to do. What does it mean for us to be an antiracist movement that is committed to Black Lives Matter? This is the challenge not only for community-based organizations, but also for health departments, health centers, national organizations, and federal agencies. We want to end the HIV epidemic that is overwhelmingly impacting people of color, yet so many of the top leadership positions are held by White people. I’m not saying fire all the White people, but I am asking leadership to work to end racism and to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

Fifty-seven jurisdictions are about to implement plans to end the epidemic in their regions. Will the plans address the racial dynamic that impacts HIV prevention, care, treatment, and wrap around services? White privilege is thinking you know the answers for communities that you cannot even begin to understand. This is not to say that all white people are racist; however, the reckoning is about all white people and the role they play in fighting or perpetuating racist systems. Only white people can end racism because all of the systems and power are built and maintained upon their privilege.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is the double edged sword: why would anyone want to dismantle systems that are set-up to benefit them? Maybe because those systems are wrong. Just ask the family and loved ones of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, Dustin Parker, Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Vampi Mendez Arocho, Monika Diamond, Lexi, Johanna Metzger, Serena Angelique Velazquez Ramos, Layla Pelaez Sanchez, Penelope Diaz Ramirez, Nina Pop, Helle Jae O’Regan, or Tony McDade.

The world is on fire. Ask yourself: are you the gasoline or the water? Thank you for your declarations of support, but that is just the first step. Now the real work begins. I challenge health departments, community-based organizations, health centers, national organizations, and federal agencies to create and implement strategic plans to make their institutions antiracist.

One important step, especially during these difficult financial times, is to hire people of color, people of trans experience, Black women, and gay men. Our movement is about to experience the largest influx of new funding in the last two decades. Thousands of new people will be hired to carry out the various programs to end the HIV epidemic. Hire people who live in and are part of the communities our work hopes to reach. Employment is a critical social determinant of health and an important step towards racial justice.

Talk to me in two weeks, after I find out if I got COVID-19. This was a very personal decision and definitely not the right one for most people, especially people who are immune compromised. I support everyone’s right to protest or stay home and understand both sides equally. NMAC is proud to lead with race to end the HIV epidemic.

Yours in the struggle,

 

 

 

 

$10+ Billion to Health Departments

As part of the recent Covid Relief package, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will distribute $10.25 billion to state, local, and territorial health departments to detect, respond, and prevent Covid-19. Here is the amount that your state, city/county (5), territory, or tribal nation will be awarded. The money goes to departments of epidemiology for key resources, contact tracing, infection prevention & control, surveillance & data analytics, and staff.

Register here for the May 28th Webinar at 1 PM (Eastern)/10 AM (Pacific).
My guests this week to brief us on this program are:

David Harvey      Stephen Lee, MD
NCSD                  NASTAD

NMAC is concerned that given the silo nature of some health departments, money to departments of epidemiology will not reach HIV, STD, or Hepatitis programs, yet we are the programs that have the longest history and an existing infrastructure for testing that is so critical to the Covid-19 work. Is the HIV community ready and willing to expand its testing and screening programs to include Covid-19? Are STD programs ready to do Covid-19 contact tracing?

The state of California will get over $600 million in new funding, Puerto Rico gets over $83 million, and tribal awards are over $200 million. Plans from the epidemiologist for this funding are due May 30th.  Why should health departments reinvent the wheel, when the HIV, STD, and Hepatitis programs have decades of experience? Working with community-based organizations, they can reach the communities that are hardest hit by HIV and Covid-19, communities of color.

Yours in the struggle,
Paul Kawata

Legal Liability When Re-opening Your HIV Workplace

Everyone wants their workplace to be safe for clients and staff. COVID-19 has created a new set of questions about the legal liability nonprofits face as states begin to reopen. Click here to review a memo from Trister, Ross, Schadler & Gold about potential liability issues that you might need to address when re-opening our office. Thank you, Mara Keisling, (National Center for Transgender Equality) for sharing this information. Each state will have different rules. There is no one size fits all solution. Agencies should consult with your legal counsel when making determinations for your workplace.

Understanding when and how to re-open is particularly challenging for HIV organizations. Our clients and/or staff could be immune compromised. Not everyone can achieve an undetectable viral load. As the data has shown, people of color are particularly hard hit by both HIV and COVID-19. Please join me for my first Instagram Live conversation with thebodydotcom on Thursday, May 21 at 2 PM (eastern) where I will talk about legal liability for the HIV workplace. I am not an expert on this topic, but these are some of the concerns I face when trying to figure out solutions for NMAC. Thank you, Charles Sanchez, for inviting me to your show.

NMAC’s Weekly Webinar in Spanish
Due to the overwhelming response to our webinar on immigration, NMAC will host another webinar on this topic, but in Spanish. Join us on Thursday, May 21, at 1 PM (Eastern). Register here to join this important session.

Experiencias de inmigración durante COVID-19:
Barreras y facilitadores hacia el cuidado de la salud

Resumen
Existen innumerables barreras que impiden a las personas inmigrantes acceder a recursos que les permitan subsistir. Una de ellas es la barrera del lenguaje. Como un ejercicio de justicia lingüística, hemos diseñado este webinar completamente en español. En él estaremos hablando sobre las barreras y los facilitadores encontrados por personas inmigrantes al buscar servicios de salud durante la pandemia del COVID-19.

Únete a esta conversación facilitada por Damián Cabrera-Candelaria y Miguel Ángel Díaz-Martínez de NMAC, para conocer sobre recursos disponibles desde quienes se encuentran luchando por el libre acceso a servicios de salud de los inmigrantes.

Panelistas
Alina Duarte, periodista independiente, DC– El racismo institucionalizado perpetúa el que las comunidades de inmigrantes sean mantenidas en el margen. Alina presentará cómo esto ha causado un efecto dispar dentro de la pandemia a la vez que muestra estrategias que han demostrado ser efectivas.

 

José Romero, Latino Commission on AIDS, NC– El peligro de la deportación al momento de buscar servicios es una de las barreras principales que enfrentan las comunidades de inmigrantes en los Estados Unidos. Por esta razón, José Romero hablará sobre cuáles son los derechos de estas poblaciones y qué pueden hacer para continuar con el cuidado de la salud.

 

Anandrea Molina, Organización Latina Trans en Texas, TX– Poblaciones ya desventajadas son puestas en situaciones de riesgo aún mayores en eventos de crisis como los actuales. Por esto, Anandrea expondrá las desigualdades hacia las comunidades trans en el sur de los Estados Unidos y cuáles son las herramientas que tienen para enfrentarlas.

 

Immigration experiences during COVID-19:
Barriers and facilitators towards healthcare access

Summary
Countless barriers prevent immigrants from accessing resources that allow them to thrive, the language barrier being one of them. As an exercise in language justice, we have designed this webinar entirely in Spanish. In it, we will talk about the barriers encountered by immigrants when seeking healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join this conversation facilitated by Damián Cabrera-Candelaria and Miguel Ángel Díaz-Martínez from NMAC to learn about available resources from those who are fighting for the rights of immigrants to access health services.

Panelists
Alina Duarte, freelance journalist, DC – Institutionalized racism perpetuates keeping immigrant communities on the sidelines. Alina will present how this has caused a disparate effect within the pandemic while showcasing strategies that have proven to be effective.

José Romero, Latino Commission on AIDS, NC – The dangers of deportation while seeking services is one of the main barriers faced by immigrants across the United States. With that in mind, José Romero will speak about what the rights of these populations are and what they can do to access healthcare.

Anandrea Molina, Organización Latina Trans en Texas, TX – Already disadvantaged populations are put at even greater risk in crisis events like the one we are currently living. For this reason, Anandrea will expose what are the inequalities experienced by the trans communities in the south and what tools they have to face them.

Register Here to Attend the Webinar
Thursday, May 21st at 1 PM (Eastern)

Today is National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. As a gay Asian man who has committed his life to ending the HIV epidemic, I live my life at the intersection of stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. I dedicate this newsletter to my friend Kiyoshi Kuromiya. From ACT-UP NY, “Kiyoshi is perhaps best known as the founder of the Critical Path Project, which brought the strategies and theories of his associate/mentor Buckminster Fuller to the struggle against AIDS. The Critical Path newsletter, one of the earliest and most comprehensive sources of HIV treatment information was routinely mailed to thousands of people living with HIV all over the world.” Thank you for your vision and leadership.

Please be safe!

Yours in the struggle,
Paul Kawata

Covid-19, Immigration, and HIV – May 7 NMAC Hangout

Damián Cabrera-CandelariaThis week’s webinar is “Intersections Between COVID-19 and Immigration: Challenges and Ways to Fight Them.” It was put together by Damián Cabrera-Candelaria. Damian is a Program Manager at NMAC’s Treatment Division. He started in April after the agency was in lockdown, so he is still in Puerto Rico waiting out COVID-19 to move to DC. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to start a new job during these challenging times. Damián, welcome to NMAC and thank you for understanding these are not typical times and we are all being challenged to do things in new and different ways. As an aside, I want to thank all of NMAC’s staff and all of the workers in our movement who continue to fight to end the HIV epidemic.

Register to Participate
May 7 @ 1 PM (Eastern)/Register

Presenters

Oscar López                                       Ángel Fabián
Poderosos Advocacy,                         Mpact
Training and Services

According to Damián, “In this week’s webinar we will be having a conversation about the challenges of immigrant communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this panel, Oscar López and Ángel Fabián will talk about the hurdles they have found in this emergency scenario, how their organizations are challenging them and what people can do to support these communities.”

Giving Tuesday
Today is Giving Tuesday Now, a new global day of giving and unity – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020 Giving Tuesday – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. Like all nonprofits and especially those in the HIV movement, NMAC faces challenges for the duration of the pandemic.

I know times are tough for many of us, but, if you are able, I’m asking you to show your support for NMAC’s vital work. Thank you in advance.

Yours in the struggle,

Paul Kawata