The AIDS United Organizing Team Gears Up for Elections 2012

By jschneidewind on June 7, 2012 in Policy/Advocacy

by Charles Stephens, AIDS United Southern Regional Organizer

This year’s elections will perhaps be the most critical for the HIV/AIDS community in recent memory. Our entire public health landscape is shifting, and has the potential to move our county toward greater health access and parity — or further away. Much of this will be determined at the polls. The people we vote into office will be faced with issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act and women’s access to reproductive health care to HIV criminalization laws, and the social safety net programs put in place to protect the most vulnerable.

To help communities “get out the vote,” AIDS United’s organizing team has launched a voter mobilization initiative. This initiative consists of a webinar series, in-person trainings around the country and a voter mobilization tool kit. To kick off our initiative this week, I presented on “HIV/AIDS Issues and the 2012 Elections: Strategies for Engagement” at the Statewide HIV/AIDS Advocacy Conference in North Carolina. The conference was a collaborative event between two of AIDS United’s grantees: The North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN) and the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC). Many of our grantees and partners in the state were present, and participants had the opportunity to attend workshops and meet with their legislators.

Some of the topics I covered during the presentation included: what’s at stake in 2012, voter engagement best practices, strategies to bring attention to HIV/AIDS issues to elected officials and candidates, and an overview of our voter mobilization toolkit.

On June 6, AIDS United hosted a webinar entitled “Mobilizing the HIV/AIDS Community for the 2012 Elections.” In addition to sharing strategies around voter engagement and mobilization, we highlighted the new toolkit, and  featured brief presentations by two of our partners: Nic Carlisle from AIDS Alabama and Sarah Sobel from the Ohio AIDS Coalition. Both spoke about what their organizations are doing to get out the vote for this year’s elections.

Our next webinar in our voter mobilization series is on voter suppression and will be June 27 More information for this webinar will be available here in the Policy Update in the next two weeks. Meanwhile, to learn more about our voter mobilization efforts, or if you would like to find out how you can get involved, please contact us.

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