On March 7th 2015 I took part in AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s “AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue”. We took the program to Selma to coincide the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” Selma-to-Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Now I’m sure many are wondering how AIDS could be seen as a Civil Rights Issue, well let me explain how I see it and why I took part in the forms.
African American and Latino communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, AFH campaign simply suggests access to HIV prevention, and care and treatment for HIV/AIDS should be universal.
High levels of stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in these communities prevent people from learning their HIV status, or from seeking care and speaking honestly with their sexual partners if they know they are positive.
Every human life has value regardless of one’s race, gender, religion, income or sexual orientation. Today’s ongoing battle is to remind our legislators and elected officials that countless lives have been given to hold our government accountable to its constitutional promises of equality and protection.
While in Selma I was able to attend the opening ceremony on Saturday for the 50th anniversary march. The event was organized to remember "Bloody Sunday," when more than 600 peaceful protesters fell victim to police violence as they marched from Selma to Montgomery for equal voting rights on March 7, 1965.
While I was excited to finally see President Obama in person and hear one of his speeches, I was actually moved by Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis words, Lewis who experienced Selma firsthand as a leader and one of the original marchers and someone who suffered the police brutality on that day.
Now I had the honor of meeting Mr. Lewis when I was younger, we took part in an event. Now I can’t remember the name of the event, the location or purpose for the event but I remember this man. His presence and demeanor always stuck with me. I remember he took the time to speak with me, being so young I had no idea at the time who he was or what he had done for American in the Civil Rights Movement but needless to say for some reason that meeting stuck with me til this day.
If you are not familiar with John Lewis or his work I strangely encourage you to reach this man and his work.
I was happy to attend the opening ceremony, I was looking for inspiration and motivation and it was definitely in the air.
With Michael Eric Dyson