National Secretary Marsha Jones and C2EA say the time for Ryan White reform is now-not three years down the road.
"Ryan White has always been an imperfect approach to fighting AIDS in the U.S. and now we know that health care reform is coming," said C2EA National Secretary Marsha Jones.
When Marsha Jones'
eldest daughter was diagnosed with HIV
11 years ago, Jones didn't know where to turn for support.
"We were trying to access services for teenage girls but none were available.
We didn't have any resources we could put our hands on," Jones
They didn't find any services until Jones' daughter landed in the hospital with cytomegalovirus (CMV) and PCP.
The hospital helped them find the AIDS services they needed; since then Jones
has guided her
learned from me, and everything I learned I taught myself," said Jones
, who has one other daughter, one son, and three grandchildren.
Unfortunately, because of the CMV, Jones' daughter is blind but otherwise her
health is excellent: She
has had an undetectable viral load for the past five years.
And although Southwest caravan leader Jones, 47, has always been the chief advocate in the family while her
daughter has kept a low profile about her
status, that's about to change.
' daughter will be joining Jones in the caravan from Dallas to Oxford.
More than 50 people will participate in the caravan, which begins in San Diego, then heads through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana on its way to Oxford (some activists from Hawaii will fly in to Dallas and be "adopted" there and ride along with Jones
daughter and 30 other Dallas-area residents).
The Dallas contingent has already started mobilizing.
On Saturday, August 23 historical black college Paul Quinn College
hosted "Raise the Praise," which piqued interest among students in the Stand Against AIDS
Asking more questions, seeking more answers
Jones left her job as an accounting clerk in 2001 to be a full-time HIV advocate and educator.
has made HIV education such a part of her
life that when her
then-8-year-old granddaughter saw AIDS ribbons on television, she
said, "You're going to be rich!
Because they're using your stuff!
Jones' youngest daughter is now in college, and also assists with outreach, bringing home classmates who she
thinks need some extracurricular sex education and empowerment to talk to her
"When women understand reproductive justice, they can better protect themselves against HIV
Despite Jones' commitment to education and outreach, she said it wasn't until joining the Campaign to End AIDS last year that she became well-versed in the nitty-gritty of federal policies such as the Early Treatment for HIV Act and ADAP as TrOOP.
Jones said, "I thought 'Why am I on the Ryan White Council but I'd never heard these things before?' It made me ask more questions and seek more answers.
I'd seen people say they were grassroots organizers, but C2EA
was the first time I saw it in application."
believes the Stand will help ignite the sense of urgency around AIDS
there was in the '80s and '90s.
The week was used by the organizers - Greg Fordham (Norfolk, VA), George Kerr (DC Fights Back), Richard Wallace (Test Positive Aware Network, Chicago), Shirlene Cooper (NYC AIDS Housing Network), Marsha Jones (the Afiya Center, Dallas), Janet Johnson (Loon Lake, WA), Eric Bartley (Housing Works, NYC), Eric Bailey and Valencia Robinson (AIDS Action In Mississippi), and David Bond (Positive Vegas) - to solidfy the caravan routes, develop and implement outreach strategies, brainstorm on fundraising opportunities, and to polish off effective media packets.