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UCAN Stop AIDS E-news

 In this issue:

  • Righteous Anger and Spiritual Renewal: Reflections from NAPWA's 2007 Staying Alive Conference 
  • National Minority HIV/AIDS Policy Partnership Report
  • Chinese Youth Visit U.S. Through Global Ministries' Partnership
  • UCAN Executive Director on Sabbatical

 

Righteous Anger and Spiritual Renewal

Written by: Rev. Anthony Green

 

I recently had the fortunate opportunity to attend the NAPWA (National Association of People With AIDS) “Staying Alive” Annual Conference, held in Cleveland, OH this year.  The speakers and presenters at the conference were all inspiring, motivating, uplifting and encouraging in the fight for justice for people living with HIV/AIDS.  I experienced the mood of the conference to be one of righteous anger: meaning, those in attendance are no longer willing to tolerate a less than adequate response from our government in the quality of care for people living with AIDS, and a loud, collective and bold voice of advocacy is necessary for change.

The interfaith service for healing (led by Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, Executive for HIV/AIDS and LGBT Concerns, and other local ministers and lay leaders) had all of these attributes as well, but it had something else.  Paradoxically, it had a spirit of calm, a spirit of gentleness, a spirit of openness, a spirit of truth – all of which have often been absent from the religious community’s involvement with people with AIDS and their loved ones.  It was heartening to sit in a circle, around a table adorned with purple and gold cloth, a diversity of religious symbols, and a lighted candle, with religious leaders who have the compassion and calling to make a difference in the lives of people living with AIDS.

 

As someone who has been directly affected by HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years, I continue to be awe struck as I witness the courage of people living with AIDS as they step out and speak up.  We need bold, outspoken advocates and activists, but we also need a safe place where those of us in the fight for justice can gather around a table that represents a Spirit of safety, surrender, release and healing.  This is where we find the inner courage to continue the fight for justice for people living with AIDS.

 

Rev. Anthony Green is an ordained United Church of Christ minister and a member of First Congregational Church, Albany, New York.  He has been chaplain for Community Hospice in the Capital Region of New York State for the past 5 years.  He specializes in psycho-spiritual counseling.  He leads retreats, trains hospice staff and volunteers, designs educational programs and has presented at national conferences on the topic "Spiritual Pain and AIDS".  Rev. Green has been actively involved on a local and national level as an advocate for people living with AIDS for the past 20 years.  To reach Rev. Green: agreen@communityhospice.org

 

 

National Minority HIV/AIDS Policy Partnership Report

 

 The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) recently released a new report entitled, The Minority AIDS Initiative: Meeting the Challenges in Communities of Color Nationwide. This publication marks the first policy white paper produced through a collaborative effort by the National Minority HIV/AIDS Policy Partnership (NMAPP), of which the UCAN is a collaborator, along with the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, the Asian American Justice Center, the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Washington Bureau, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Urban League. 

The Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) uniquely aims to improve HIV/AIDS-related health outcomes and address social disparities for communities of color by addressing public health inequalities, as well as building the capacity of racial and ethnic communities to manage, evaluate and sustain comprehensive HIV/AIDS programs.  Yet at the same time, the legislative changes outlined in the MAI also create new barriers for communities of color. This paper aims to highlight new MAI implementation guidelines for our communities while dually challenging the initiative to grow with the demands of our communities. 

 

To find out more: www.nmac.org

View the complete report: http://www.nmac.org/nmac2/PDF/NMAPP_RyanWhite_Paper.pdf  

 

 

Chinese Youth Visit U.S. through Global Ministries’ Partnership

 

Global Ministries has been working with Zhecheng Succor (HIV/AIDS) Society in Henan, China to support 76 children who have lost one parent or are orphaned because of HIV/AIDS.  Zhecheng Succor projects provide small loans to assist families raising pigs and goats, and to rebuild houses and a school.

 

Through this partnership, three Chinese students, Jinhua Wang, Yinxia Li and Xinyuan Zhang, were invited to the United States this past summer.  Jinhua Wang, 16, lost her mother when she was very young.  Yinxia Li, 18, lost her father a few years ago.  Both of these students come from poor regions, with each of their families earning as little as $80 annually.  Xinyuan Zhang is a college student and a volunteer with the Zhecheng Succor Society. 

 

 

During their visit (July 9-Aug. 4, 2007) they enjoyed two weeks of summer camp at Camp Christian (Disciples’ camp in Ohio) and at the UCC Pilgrim Pines Camp in California.  They also had the opportunity to attend the Disciples’ General Assembly in Fort Worth, Texas, and to tour Washington D.C. and Cleveland, Ohio.

 

Throughout their visit, the young women shared their life stories and difficulties with other young people they met and built many friendships with both UCC and Disciples youth. 

 

To find out more about this partnership and other similar work: www.globalministries.org

 

This project is supported by the East Asia and the Pacific Office, the Missionary Personnel Office of Global Ministries and the UCC Office for HIV and AIDS Ministries.

 

 

UCAN Executive Director on Sabbatical

 

 

 

Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive Director of UCAN, will be on sabbatical from September 17, 2007 until January 7, 2008.  This will be a time of professional development, including a month of intensive Spanish language training in Mexico, along with personal development, which will include reconnecting with family and personal spiritual development. Rev. Lori Tisher will be staffing the Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office while Rev. Schuenemeyer is away. 

 

 

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United Church of Christ HIV/AIDS Network (UCAN)

Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office, Wider Church Ministries, United Church of Christ

700 Prospect Ave, Cleveland OH 44115

216-736-3218         ucan@ucc.org           www.ucc.org/health/hivaids