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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
December 1, 2006

World AIDS Day Special Issue

Jackson, schools, commissioners honored for HIV education

Cleveland--Mayor Frank Jackson was honored this week, along with the Cuyahoga County commissioners, the Cleveland Municipal School District and its CEO Eugene Sanders, for their dedication to comprehensive sexual education.

The awards were part of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland�s eighth annual Voices Against the Silence Awards, honoring people and organizations that further the cause of educating people about HIV and AIDS.

One of the Taskforce�s major crusades since 2000 has been to beat back the rising tide of �abstinence only until marriage� sexual education, which executive director Earl Pike said not only leaves youth without proper guidelines for safe sex if they reject abstinence, but is also inherently homophobic, since same-sex couples cannot marry.

Others who received the awards on November 29 were Dr. Kristin Englund of the Cleveland Clinic, volunteer Denise Leslie, St. Paul�s Community Church pastor Doug Horner, and activists Naimah O�Neal and Rosa Colon.

�This is an amazing group of people and institutions,� said Earl Pike, executive director of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. �Some of them are well known in the community, others do their work quietly, behind the scenes. But they have all made powerful contributions to improving the lives of people living with HIV, or preventing new HIV infections.�

Pike noted the words of two members of different administrations, former Secretary of State Colin Powell during George W. Bush�s first term in office and Bill Clinton�s statements to last summer�s International AIDS Conference in Toronto.

He noted Powell�s concern over the epidemic when he said, �AIDS will do in two or three generations what 2,000 years of warfare couldn�t accomplish,� racking up a death toll that exceeds every war in recorded history.

Clinton, appearing onstage with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, was more optimistic this past summer.

�We are so lucky,� he said, �to live during a time when we can do something to change history, to change the world.�

 

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