[act-ma] 2/24 - HIV/AIDS State of Emeregncy Forum

IAC Boston iacboston at iacboston.org
Thu Feb 22 19:06:19 PST 2007

in this email
*1) 2/24 - HIV/AIDS State of Emeregncy Forum
2) Why is there an HIV State of Emergency in Boston?*
1) *2/24 - HIV/AIDS State of Emergency Forum*
*Saturday, Feb. 24
10:00am - 3:00 pm
New Life Restoration Temple
38-40 Centre St., Dorchester, MA*
- Music, Food, Discussion -
Brenda Stone Browder
Acclaimed author of "On the Up and Up"
Phil Wilson
Executive Director Black AIDS Institute
Presented by: Healing Our Lands, Inc.
Endorsers (partial list): ABCD, Inc.; New England HIV Education 
Consortium; Fenway Community Health Center; Whittier Street Health 
Center; Boston Living Center; Emmanuel Temple; New Life Restoration 
Temple; Mt. Olive Kingdome Builders Worship Center; Caleb International; 
Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries; The Power Movement; Community 
Church of Boston; Women’s Fight Back Network; Stonewall Warriors
for more information:
Minister Franklin Hobbs, Healing Our Land, Inc
(617)594-9955 healoland at yahoo.com <mailto:healoland at yahoo.com>
2) *Why is there an HIV State of Emergency in Boston?*
Rev. Franklin Hobbs

Rev. Franklin Hobbs
Photo: J. Jackson

/HIV public health measures are not sufficiently reaching 
African-American, Latin@ and Haitian communities in Massachusetts and 
all other states in the United States. In 2005, Rev. Franklin Hobbs, 
Director of Dorchester’s Healing Our Land, led a grassroots movement 
that resulted in the Boston City Council voting 13-0 to declare an HIV 
state of emergency on Boston’s communities of color. The following is an 
interview/ /Gerry Scoppettuolo did with Rev. Hobbs./

*WW:* Why is there a state of HIV emergency in communities of color for 
HIV on Boston?

*FH:* Communities of color have for a long time continued to have HIV 
escalate. Resources are decreasing rapidly for HIV from the federal 
level while the incidence of HIV prevalence has been increasing, hence 
the state of emergency.

*WW:* Why aren’t there enough resources?

*FH:* Unfortunately, on the federal level a majority of the money has 
been going to fund the war. That’s pretty clear. Social service programs 
have just been decimated; organizations have been shut down in the most 
marginalized communities. The first places to be cut are where there has 
been the least ability to have the voice to shout back. Often times they 
aren’t mobilized to have power to advocate for themselves. With HIV 
counseling and testing, a lot of sites were closed in the areas that 
need them the most. Now people that need the access have to go further 
to get tested and have access to care when they weren’t accessing those 
resources even when they were more accessible. Outreach programs are 
virtually non-existent.

*WW:* How many localities have declared HIV states of emergency in 
communities of color?

*FH:* Alameda County, Calif.; Baltimore; Long Island, N.Y.; Houston; and 
the state of Alabama, which is the only entire state.

*WW:* As you know, Massachusetts funds have been cut from $53 million to 
$35 million in the past five years. When you look on the street, where 
do you see that impact?

*FH:* In the inner city.

*WW:* Who have been your allies in the struggle?

*FH:* The Rosa Parks Committee has been phenomenal; unions that have 
historically not been known to be part of the movement and that’s great; 
churches and clergy; and a few community-based organizations and their 
executive directors. These folks were at a public hearing we had, a very 
diverse group: the Boston AIDS Consortium, the Veterans’ Benefits 
Clearinghouse, the Stonewall Warriors, and a lot of advocates who 
couldn’t represent their agencies publicly but supported the movement.

*WW:* You are HIV positive. How does that affect your work?

*FH:* It’s driven it. I’ve been positive for over 18 years and that’s 
what catapulted me to do this work and give me the sensitivity and 
passion for the work. I understand by living with the virus—it’s not 
abstract for me.

*WW:* If you had all the power to have your way to fight the epidemic, 
what would you like to see done?

*FH:* I would really like to see comprehensive outreach to marginalized 
communities and then assessment and treatment. And when I say 
comprehensive, I mean whether someone is positive or not, so that 
people, even if they are just at risk, they can be empowered 
spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally; in every regard so they 
can be whole. For all those who are infected, a labor-intensive and 
long-term program. I’d like to see a center for housing and job training.

*WW:* When you look at the power structure, why have the resources been 
so late or not there at all?

FH: Our system is a capitalist system that is driven by money and the 
exploitation of peoples’ pain and suffering, to make money off of it. 
HIV and AIDS are no different. Unfortunately, people have used it to 
make careers rather than use the innovations from the people hit by the 
epidemic and getting their responses and solutions to alleviate the 

*WW:* In this coming year what are your hopes for the HIV State of 
Emergency Committee?

*FH:* I hope we can mobilize a movement that will be deep and long and 
have youth who will carry on this movement long after my life is over, 
and that it will be a movement that will be comprehensive and do the 
advocacy and address the greater social and economic implications that 
cause marginalized communities to be hurt.

*WW:* The word “disproportional” is often used to discuss what is really 
racism ....

*FH:* Racism exists and people who are poor and oppressed have the 
access to information and have less access to utilize it and do not know 
what is available. There is not an aggressive commitment and ownership 
to empower. The power construct is white and rich. There are the poor 
and the rich.

*WW:* How can people reach you?

*FH:* I can be reached at healoland at yahoo.com 
<mailto:healoland at yahoo.com> and 617-594-9955.


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