National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

I will never fully understand what it means to be Native American/Alaska Native in America, but that does not imply I cannot stand in solidarity with Native people and support their struggle for justice and equality.

In a world with decreasing resources and increasing demand, Native Americans often get categorized as “other” for funding and epidemiological purposes. “Other” is just another way to erase or minimize the importance of their communities, culture, and lives.

In the hierarchy of oppression, resources go to those most in need. Often that leaves “others” with scraps. Make no mistake, the system is set up so that we fight each other rather than the people who make these rules. It is in their interest to keep us in competition with each other and not them. If we ever figure out the way to unite, we could be an unstoppable force.

On this National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, all the communities highly impacted by HIV are all being weaponized as “others.” The extreme right is attempting to use this fear to take back power and control of the courts, legislative bodies, and executive offices and to divide American so that women, people of color, and LGBTQ communities are minimized and marginalized. The reality is that our communities and the people who love us are the majority of Americans, the unstoppable force that scares them into action.

This year is just the opening salvo. They are “message testing” to understand how far they can push the hatred of “others” as their pathway to the presidency. Next year will be a dog fight of the worst kind. Affirmative Action will be the next to go. The courts will also look to outlaw mifepristone or misoprostol. These actions are the upshot of decades of planning, and I am worried. In their reach for power and control, they are splitting our country along lines of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and guns where a lie can be made to look like the truth. We’re not going without a fight, but they must know that. America does not deserve the years of suffering this struggle will generate. Today is also a call for peace.

Thank you to everyone attending this year’s Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit. Over 1,000 folks have registered or received scholarships. At this meeting our movement needs to talk about the future and get ready for a couple of brutal years where our lives and those of our clients become the targets for their pathway to power and control of America.

Yours in the Struggle,

Paul Kawata

Paul Kawata