AIDS United Partners Participate in Syringe Exchange Day of Action

By Rob Banaszak on March 30, 2012 in Policy/Advocacy

by Bill McColl, Director of Political Affairs
AIDS United

On March 21, many of AIDS United’s Partners including Public Policy Committee Members and Southern REACH grantees took time to contact their Members of Congress with the message that syringe exchange funding must be restored. Highlights from Day of Action activities included the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Coalition in New York City connecting their followers to Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Gillibrand (D-NY) by posting AU’s website and alert on Facebook and Tweeting it in English and Spanish.

In Denver, Colorado, the Harm Reduction Action Center participated in phoning and emailing U.S. Senators Bennet and Udall. The Center sent information to 500 supporters, and to their Facebook friends. A local progressive blog also documented their efforts here: http://www.theprecarious.com/content/clean-needle-access-must-activists-say

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), organized meetings with staffers for Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Kirk (R-IL) in Springfield and in Chicago. AFC representatives brought information packets including sign on letters from service providers and state representatives. They also sent out an e-blast to 6,000 people linking to AU’s alert. Also, the national HIV Prevention Justice Alliance sent out an e-blast to 11,700 people

The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) organized a meeting with Senator Hagan’s (D-NC) office in Raleigh, NC, a call-in to her office in DC, a letter writing campaign to her office in DC and a social media education campaign on the issue. Fourteen people attended the meeting in Raleigh (including members of law enforcement, lawyers, diabetics, people of transgender experience, drug users and religious leaders).

AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts sent out alerts to the Massaschusetts Viral Hepatitis Coalition, the Massachusetts AIDS Policy Task Force, and its own “cyber action alert list.” The agency also issued a statement and put a blog post up on our website (see attached). AIDS Action is working on getting a meeting with Senator Kerry (D-MA).

Of course this is the perfect time to remind readers that although the Day of Action is over, the effort to end the federal ban on syringe exchange funding has just begun. You can still contact your own members of Congress here: If readers would like to work with grassroots organizers in your region on this effort, send our Political Director, William McColl a note at wmccoll@aidsunited.org and he
will help to connect you.

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