Friday, July 13, 2018

GMHC & AIDS Walk San Francisco

In San Francisco on Sunday July 15th thousands of people are expected to gather in Golden Gate Park for the 32nd annual AIDS Walk San Francisco (AWSF) both in support of people living with HIV/AIDS & to defend the dignity & equality of vulnerable populations everywhere. This is the first year that the NYC org GMHC is the main organizer of the San Francisco AIDS Walk following its merger with ACRIA last year. The 10-kilometer Walk begins & ends in Golden Gate Park. Celebrities at the Opening Ceremony in Robin Williams Meadow will include Barrett Foa (NCIS Los Angeles), Nico Tortorella (Younger), Dale Soules (Orange is the New Black), ABC-7 news anchor Dan Ashley, and more. A Post-Walk Show also in Robin Williams Meadow will be held for all participants & will be co-hosted by Nico Tortorella, fitness celebrity Bethany Meyers & RuPaul’s Drag Race star Alexis Michelle. Since 1987 AWSF has raised more than $90 million for a variety of Bay Area HIV/AIDS care, prevention services & advocacy organizations & has long been Northern California’s largest AIDS fundraising event. This year’s Walk benefits ACRIA, PRC & Project Open Hand, as well as dozens of other Bay Area HIV/AIDS service organizations. ACRIA envisions a world where all people with HIV receive the treatment, care & support they need to lead healthy, productive lives & where new transmissions of the virus have been eliminated. Positive Resource Center (PRC) helps people affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use, or mental health issues better realize opportunities by providing integrated legal, social & health services that address the broad range of social risk factors that impact wellness & limit potential. Project Open Hand’s mission is to nourish & engage our community by providing meals with love to the sick & the elderly.
For More Info: sf.aidswalk.net
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

LPAC Backing August Candidates

LPAC has announced several new endorsements on the heels of several successful primary campaigns by previously endorsed candidates. As August primaries approach & the critical midterm elections loom these additional endorsements paired with a renewed effort focused on key races will be the focus of LPAC’s efforts in the coming months. Stephanie Sandberg, LPAC’s Executive Director stated, “We are encouraged by the recent successes of our endorsed candidates but there is so much more work to do between now & November, with the August primaries first & foremost. It is time to raise more money, get out the vote & engage local communities in these historic elections. With the recent resignation of Justice Kennedy & continued attacks on LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights & social justice there is more at stake than ever.” The newly endorsed candidates with August primaries include: Donna Shalala, US Rep. FL-27: Donna Shalala is running for US Congress for FL District 27 to replace retiring Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. Jamie McLeod-Skinner, US Rep. OR-2:McLeod-Skinner is running for US Congress for OR District 2 after a victory in her May 15th primary. Stacey Abrams, Georgia Governor: Abrams is running for Governor of Georgia after a victory in her May 22nd primary. Lupe Valdez, Texas Governor: Valdez is running for Governor of Texas after a victory in her May 22nd primary win and has already made history in her career as a Latina out lesbian. Nickie Antonio, OH State Senate: Antonio is running for Ohio State Senate in District 23 after a victory in her May 8th primary & Mary Washington, MD State Senate (apparent winner): Washington is running for Maryland State Senate in District 43, part of Baltimore County, after a victory in her June 26th primary.
For More Info: teamlpac.com
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Supreme Court Heartbreak Resumes

With Brett Kavanaugh’s extreme conservative record & his past support of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Resource Council (FRC) our LGBTQ community’s progress is in jeopardy along with a woman’s right to choose, the Affordable Care Act, immigrants & more. Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, “If confirmed, Brett Kavanaugh will have the chance to codify President Trump & Vice President Pence’s dangerous anti-LGBTQ record & the agenda of anti-LGBTQ groups into law for decades to come. Like Neil Gorsuch before him, Kavanaugh is an ideologically driven pick designed to create an activist Supreme Court that will undermine rights & protections for women, LGBTQ people, immigrants & all vulnerable people. Americans do not want or need 40 more years of Trump’s values.” Vanita Gupta, President & CEO of The Leadership Conference concluded, “Brett Kavanaugh is a direct threat to our civil & human rights & is unfit to serve on our nation’s highest court. Earning a spot on this list of anti-civil & human rights all-stars required satisfying the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation & Federalist Society & passing Trump's ideological litmus tests. Trump promised that, if confirmed, his nominee would overturn Roe v. Wade & undermine the Affordable Care Act, which would have a devastating impact on those with pre-existing conditions, people of color, women, people with disabilities & millions of others for decades to come. Access to health care is a civil & human rights issue of profound importance. Our civil & human rights hang in the balance with this Supreme Court nomination. Senators must put country over party to protect their constituents, the Constitution & civil & human rights by rejecting this extreme nomination.” 
For More Info: glaad.org
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Florida Creating A New HIV Crisis

Governor Rick Scott & Florida Medicaid officials are denying renewal of an HIV care contract with AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Positive Healthcare which has been providing critical health insurance coverage for people living with HIV in Florida since 1999 & forcing HIV patients to use for-profit companies that don’t currently cover their sustained medical provider. Donna Stidham, Chief of Managed Care for AHF stated, “Given the increased number of those now living with HIV in Florida, it is deplorable that Governor Scott has continued to play with people’s lives, while padding the pockets of a small group of for-profit companies. Many of these patients, currently covered by PHC, have been seeing their doctor for years, even decades & are thriving in care. These same patients will suffer disruption of treatment & can suffer substandard care if they are simply dumped into the general patient population, or if their care is jobbed out by huge, for-profit insurance companies for treatment by a family medicine doctor or general practitioner without HIV expertise.” Michael Kahane, AHF Southern Bureau Chief concluded, “If we are to address the continual rise in individuals newly diagnosed with HIV, it is critical that Governor Scott & all public servants, guarantee that everyone is at the table to ensure the necessary care is provided for those living with HIV. As the leading non-profit agency addressing the HIV epidemic across this nation, our primary focus is on quality patient care & not profit. All who are living with a chronic illness, like HIV, have the undeniable right to choose the medical provider that they trust, that provides the care that they need & the insurance coverage to sustain this care.”
For More Info: aidshealth.org
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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Changing The Political Landscape

Now that the Fourth of July holiday is over there’s work to be done to change this horrendous administration with 472 women entering the race for the House in November & 57 potentially running for the Senate. We haven’t seen anything like this since 1992 referred to as the “Year of the Woman” when 24 women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives which was the largest group of women ever to enter the House in a single election. So let’s focus on getting these women candidates elected in November & one crucial way is through savvy media campaigns because if voters know a candidate's name & if they have seen her face before they're more likely to vote for the candidate in the booth. A good campaign video translates to reach, name recognition & of course fundraising. LPAC is the country’s only political action committee that is committed to empowering & engaging LGBTQ women. Now in its sixth year LPAC builds the political power of LGBTQ women by electing candidates who champion LGBTQ rights, women’s equality & social justice issues. LPAC has successfully raised millions of dollars to reach these goals. With the 2018 Midterm elections in November it is crucial to back candidates that support our values & stop the Trump administration’s attempt to erase the progress we have achieved. In this exclusive audio montage we talked with red carpet attendees at “Levity & Justice For ALL” a comedy benefit for LPAC at Town Hall in NYC about the midterm elections & more. LISTEN:
For More Info: teamlpac.com
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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Transgender Victory In Montana

Unlike Massachusetts, Montana has struck down I-183 the anti-transgender ballot measure that would have prevented transgender Montanans from using facilities consistent with their gender identity. I-183 also called the “Montana Locker Room Privacy Act,” failed to gain enough signatures to qualify for a ballot initiative this November. Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, “Local advocacy groups in Montana set a powerful example for the rest of the country by refusing to let this harmful anti-trans initiative reach the ballot in November. While safety in public facilities is important to all of us, assault & harassment are already illegal & laws that specifically bar restroom access for transgender people only increase the abuse & mistreatment that many trans people already face.” The measure sponsored by the anti-LGBTQ & anti-choice group Montana Family Foundation (MFF), which has an extensive history of defending religious exemption bills, I-183 would have endangered transgender & non-binary Montanans forcing them out of public places by restricting their use of facilities. Additionally, it would have granted people the right to sue the government if they encountered a transgender or non-binary person in a facility that did not match the gender on their birth certificate. As you know the battle for transgender rights continues in Massachusetts where Freedom for All Massachusetts is working to fight a November 2018 ballot initiative that would repeal basic protections for trans people after the state extended non-discrimination protections to transgender people in July 2016.
For More Info: freedommassachusetts.org
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Monday, July 2, 2018

America Land Of The Deported

An opinion by Chef Rossi. When I was growing up, the Fourth of July was a chance to celebrate the freedom I was taught the United States stood for. Land of the free, home of the brave. The Declaration of Independence: just its name made me feel proud & empowered. Signed on July 4, 1776, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty & the pursuit of Happiness.” As I got older & smarter, issues with the Declaration bubbled to the surface. All men were created equal, but women weren’t allowed to vote until 1920. All men were created equal, but most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves. Yes, a lot of the Founding Fathers were against slavery, but not enough. Slavery wasn’t abolished until 1865 & it took a civil war to do it. Immigrants were fine. We were a struggling new nation, we needed our immigrants & gave them the same rights “to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness” that natives had. Oh, not the real Native Americans, of course. They were raped, murdered, conquered, had their histories erased & were forced, if they survived, into white society or onto reservations. Immigrants did come. More than 80 million of them (since they started counting anyway). My grandparents came, escaping anti-Semitism in Hungary. They were welcomed by the great lady herself, the Statue of Liberty! “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The 45th president of the United States is clearly not a fan of huddled masses. He likes to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. His “zero tolerance policy” separated thousands of immigrating children from their parents. Since his election, I hear this expression a lot: “This is not America.” I grew up thinking that the United States stood for freedom, honor & humanity. But we also have a dark history of racism, sexism & homophobia. It is that fire that the 45th president stokes. Sadly, that vile flame is also America, just not the America we celebrate & certainly not one we care to repeat.
For More Info: theragingskillet.com
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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Independence Day Spirit For All

We approach Independence Day on July 4th 2018 with millions of American citizens marching across the nation attempting to save the democracy from the hands of an administration bent on destroying everything good this country stands for. After enduring weeks & months witnessing the disheartening news of US citizens & immigrant families being ripped apart in the name of so called “justice” protesters gathered Saturday in massive “Families Belong Together!” rallies & marched in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago & other cities across the country calling for an end to the Trump administration's perceived-harsh immigration enforcement & recent family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump reacted in usual form by not acknowledging the crowds & spending the weekend at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. concerned that the protesters gathered outside may affect his golf score. The fact that he didn’t mentioned anything on Twitter or anyplace else about the huge “Families Belong Together!” national events just confirms that this sort of action really gets to him. He may try to dismiss it all as Fake News but it’s just too in his face to escape. This is how we begin to take back our country. The next step is preventing Trump from appointing a replacement for United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy until after the midterm elections in November when we all come together & win back control of both the US House & Senate to restore democracy. This will slow the administration down from causing more misery & hardship until we can vote them out of office in 2020. Then the real work will begin to rebuild America both domestically & abroad to resemble a place where we work to obtain equality for all.
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