Cleveland--Two caravans from the Campaign to End AIDS made their way to Ohio on November 1 and 2.
Over 100 people converged on Trinity Cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, for the Cleveland event.
The caravan that went through northeast Ohio, traveling from Seattle, Washington, to Washington, D.C., was one of nine such groups converging on the nation�s capital, gaining recruits along the way. After leaving Cleveland, the group headed on to Akron.
The day started off with an introduction from Rev. Tracey Lind, the dean of Trinity Cathedral.
�I address you today as people of faith, because what you�re doing is a classic faith journey,� she said.
Lind continued speaking from a perspective of faith, telling the assemblage to �take exile and turn it into exodus,� describing their journey as a �pilgrimage of faith all the way from Seattle to Washington, D.C.�
After a speech by AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland executive director Earl Pike calling for support of the campaign�s four demands, he asked people to gravitate to the four corners of the room, each representing one of the four points. Each attendee was asked to speak about that specific demand from a personal perspective. He wanted people to �speak truth to power,� to give their own truths so that they may become reality.
The four demands are to adequately fund treatment and support, increase research to find a cure, treatments and prevention, increase science-based prevention work, and end the stigma that people with HIV face.
Nicholas Yoda of Avon Lake Presbyterian Church, standing in the �fighting stigma� corner, called on organized religion to do more before history points to AIDS the way it points to the church�s role in slavery and the persecution of Native Americans.
�I�m pretty sure I know what Jesus would have done� about AIDS, he said. �Jesus would have called us to action.�
Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell spoke to the crowd, highlighting the efforts made by her administration to focus on public health.
One major accomplishment is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program, available in only ten of the 150 cities nationally that applied for it. A prevention expert from the CDC works to devise strategies to fight the spread of the disease in new and innovative ways.
The day before, a C2EA caravan originating in Portland, Oregon, made its way to Columbus, where a rally was held at the Statehouse. That caravan was scheduled to head to Cincinnati after leaving the state capital.
All the caravans will meet on November 5 in Washington, D.C., where thousands of postcards will be distributed to the Senate calling for them to adequately fund AIDS services, support prevention based on science, not ideology, increase funding for research and work to end AIDS.
More information about the campaign is available at www.c2ea.org.
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