August 10, 2009

August 10, 2009
Standing Up For What's Right

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Monday and boy does it feel like one. Needless to say I am stressing out over getting Ryan White funding extended before the September 26, 2009 deadline.

Some people ask me why I work so hard as an activist? Why do I continue after all these years? Well to start with my parents raised their kids to always do what is right. They also raised us to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Those two reasons would be enough for what I do but actually there are much deeper reasons.

See most people alive today regardless of their HIV status do not know everything that happened to people with HIV in the early days. Before the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. Before Ryan White funding and AIDS Service Organizations.

All the way back to when people with HIV were placed in quarantined. Alone. Afraid. And dying. Just the ceiling to start at and the machines to listen to. Without the comfort of being able to see their families, loved ones, friends. I watch too many have tears streaming down their faces as they struggled through their final days or hours. I watched this happen to my first lover and by best friend. They were followed by so many others. Too many others.

For many years, I did not like talking about the early days because of the pain and heartache the memories bring. Watching friends lose their jobs, their insurance, their housing... just because they had HIV or AIDS.

I also watched as a community came together and started taking care of each other. We met in kitchens, small offices, wherever we could. We discussed how we were going to keep ourselves alive. How we were going to take care of each other. But most importantly how we could make our elected officials and country care.

Now I know with most of my friends if they were alive today and I was the one who was gone; they would be doing the same work I am in my honor. So while I appreciate the wonderful and sweet comments and emails about my work, it really isn't about me. It's about community. It's about doing what's right.

Those are my thoughts. What about yours? Drop me a line and let me know. And remember contact your elected officials, President Obama and Secretary of Health Sebelius about extending Ryan White funding today!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab