North Carolina Newspapers

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Thursday, August 17, 2006
Grassroots effort to reduce AIDS in U.S.
Continued from page 1A
Citing statistics fix>m the
Centers for Disease and
Control, Wilson said that
there are 650,000 black peo
ple in the U.S. living with
AIDS - a little more than half
of all cases nationally
“We are here this afternoon
to launch a national Black
mass AIDS mobilization with
a goal of reversing the epi
demic in black America by
2011, just five years fi-om
now,” Wlson stated. “We real
ize this is an ambitious goal -
some mi^t say unrealistic.
We believe anything less
would be immoral.”
One by one, after explain-
ir^ how their organizations
would contribute to the war
on AIDS, the leaders each
signed a large poster board
patterned after the original
U.S. Declaration of
Independence on a brown,
weathered paper background
with Old English lettering.
Bond said although the
NAACP has been in the fight
since 1998, they know they
must do more. He said the
NAACP would send dele
gates to every future
International AIDS
Conference, provide HIV
screenii^ at all seven of its
regional conferences and at
the national convention and
lobby for the reauthorization
of the Ryan White Care Act,
federal legislation that pro
vides funding for, among
other things, uninsured HIV
patients.
The NAACP’s newest ini
tiative, Bond said was to
heavily promote mandatory
HIV testing on prisoner’s
entering and exiting
America’s coirectional facili
ties.
‘^We can’t accept that
healthy men and women
enter our systems for short
stays on minor charges or
longer staj^ for serious
charges and then are
released with a death sen
tence finm which there is no
pardon or parole,” he said.
Sandra Goodrif^e, director
of Health- Quality of Life pro
grams for the National
Urban League, said the civil
ri^ts group would also
launch more testing pro
grams and would participate
actively in World AIDS Day
and the National Day of
Service.
Understanding that black
women have started to
become infected with
HIV/AIDS at rapid rates,
Cheryl Cooper, executive
director of the National
Council of Negro Women,
said they would use their
resources and join with the
Coalition of 100 Black
Women and the Black AIDS
institute this year to reach
out to Black women.
'TJhbdievably 68 percent of
women newly infected with
HIV are Afiican American
women, our women,” Cooper
said-
Pemessa Seele, founder of
the Balm in GUead, explained
that while stigma and rduc-
tance to discuss HIV and
AIDS in black churches stiH
exist, her oiganization has
2006 ‘doll test’ results similar
Continued from page 1A
school program supported by HBO.
The video taped doll test resulted fix)m a col
lection of writings Davis had compiled on
issues of importance to black girls in her high
school. In that writing, she noticed that com
plexion was a recurring theme.
‘T knew what my fiiends were going throu^.
These standards of beauty just kept coming
up,” Davis said in an interview with NNPA
News Service. “I thought it was an issue that
needed to be exposed more, although at times
it seemed too taboo to talk about. But I thov^t
a film would just put it aU out there and cause
discussion.”
In realizing that so many dark-skinned girls
have been told that lighter or whiter skin is
more beautiful, Davis decided to drive home
her point by condircting the doU study
‘You could tell these people about the stan
dards of beauty that are forced on young girls
all you want to. But they won’t get it until you
show them,” she said.
And that, she did.
The children are finm a Harlem daycare cen
ter. And 15 of the 21 children surveyed pre
ferred the white doU over the black one, a
result that has astoimded many
Clark and his wife Mamie Phipps Clark, also
a psychdogist, conducted the doll study in
1950 that showed how racial segregation
destroyed the self-esteem of black cliildren.
The Clarendon County, S.C., experiment
involved 16 black children, ages 6 to 9. They
were asked their perception of a white doll and
black doll. Eleven said the blade doH looked
‘bad;” nine said the white doll looked “nice”.
The test results influenced the U. S. Supreme
Court to hold school segregation to be uncon
stitutional in the 1954 Brown v. Board of
Education of Tbpeka, Kans. case. Arguing
against the separate-but-equal doctrine in
1952, Thurgood Marshall, then an attorney for
the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational
Fund, dted Clark’s work as proof of the doc
trine’s damage to the self-image of black chil
dren. On May 17, 1954, Supreme Court Chief
Justice Earl Warren announced the court’s
decision to desegregate schools in Brown v.
Board of Education. Clarlfs doU test was one of
his dtations as proof of the psychological dam
age on black children.
The Davis test shows that psychology has not
changed very mudi at aU.
“I’m really not shocked, I am sad to say,” says
Julia Hare, a San Frandsco psychologist. “If
you keep doing what you’ve always done,
you’re going to keep getting what you’ve
always had. Our children are bombarded with
images every day that they see on television
screens and on coffee tables either the %ht-
skinned female that everybody is pushing or
they give preference to the dosest to white
your school!
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united thousands of congre
gations across the nation.
“I am happy to say that we
have not done all that we can
do, but we’re going to do
more,” Seele said.
She said the most recent
gain is the AME, AME Zion
and CME churches signing
on with Balm in Gilead to
have health coordinators for
every Episcopal district in the
U.S.
In the black media,
National Newspaper
Publishers Assodation News
Sei'vice Editor George E.
Cuny pointed out that NNPA
syndicates a edmnn by PhUl
Wilson and has provided
extensive coverage of the
pandemic.
Speaking after one panelist
admitted that he was openly
gay Curry said, “I am a
straight black man and the
issue is not whether one is
straight or gay The issue is
whether we’re going to save
lives.”
Waters,, who is known for
her in-your-face stjie, indud-
ing being an advoc ate for nee
dle-exchange programs and
being vocal about the ineffec-
tivoness of the U.S.’s “absti
nence only” polides, said that
when it comes to AIDS, she’s
actually been too mild.
“I’m taking the gloves off
Fm not so nice about this any
more,” she said.
Waters also stressed the
importance of HIV testing in
the corrections system and
said she is fighting on Capitol
Hill to make that happen.
She also said that in addition
to the need to reauthorize the
Ryan White Caie Act, money
for another massive federally
funded AIDS program - the
Minority AIDS Initiative — is
also dwindling while tiie need
is growing.
Waters said the initiative
got as much as $156 million
in 1999 but fundir^ was st^-
nant during the Bush admin
istration. She and 119 mem
bers of Congress are cunent-
ly pushing to appropriate
$610 million to the initiative.
to properly care for blacks,
Hispanics, Asian and Native
Americans struggling with
the disease.
She also pointedly chal
lenged the pharmaceutical
industry, urging them to
assume a more active role in
combating HIV and AIDS,
But before any government
or corporate support can take
place. Waters explained it
starts with individual com
mitments.
“Get your heads out of the
sand and understand you are
just as vulnerable as anybody
else,” she said. “First, take
responsibility so that we can
demand fixim others that
they take responsibility”
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