LGB RPCV NewsLetter - May 1999
In This Issue
An RPCV Goes Political Being a Mentor Letter from Romania Return to India Pride Events NPCA Conference
he May issue begins with an interview of Atlanta City Council member, Cathy Woolard. Suzanne Marks asks her about Peace Corps’ influence on her life and political career. Anna Roche writes about her experiences as a mentor for lesbian and gay Peace Corps applicants. Tudor Kovacs writes to us from Romania. After thinking about it for years, Joe Eckberg goes back to India. News of Pride events and the NPCA conference in Minneapolis in August.
Reaching Out and Bringing In
As early summer arrives, so does Gay Pride season. Once again lesbian, gay and bisexual RPCVs will be involved in a wide array of Pride events around the country: parades, festivals, AIDS rides and walks, panel discussions, arts and film festivals, parties, and social gatherings. And once again, Peace Corps will be at many of these events providing recruiting and other information. We’ll have the opportunity to reach out as former Peace Corps volunteers to the women and men of our community who are curious about the Peace Corps experience, wondering if it’s right for them. We’re an extraordinarily rich resource for Peace Corps assignments, and Peace Corps has come to realize that. Peace Corps’ budget is growing again, and it’s actively recruiting for a wide range of skills and projects. It’s a perfect time for gay men and women to learn more about Peace Corps opportunities, and to consider taking part in this unique experience. There’s information about Pride and related events in this issue. Speaking of reaching out, two recent messages, “out of the blue” and from different parts of the world, illustrate the way our web site positively influenced his life by helping him cope with his sexuality in a homophobic culture. He told us that he is happily committed in a longterm gay relationship today, which wouldn’t have happened if he had not met these Peace Corps friends. He concluded with, “I just want to congratulate you all for a great job and the great people you are.” The Internet is everywhere and thanks to our Webmaster, Kevin Souza, we’re out there on it. This issue begins with an interview with Atlanta lesbian politician and RPCV, Cathy Woolard. The Peace Corps experience has encouraged many to take on political and leadership roles. In another article Anna Roche describes her experiences as a mentor in LGB RPCV’s Mentor Program and writes about the questions she’s asked. Joe Eckberg was so spurred on by articles in recent newsletters by RPCVs describing their return to their volunteer sites that he got moving and went back to India where he served twenty-seven years ago. He tells us what it was like. •
“It’s a perfect time for gay men and women to learn more about Peace Corps opportunities, and to consider taking part in this unique experience. ”
“reaches out” to the world. About a month ago Tudor Kovacs, a gay man in Romania who also works for Peace Corps as a language instructor during volunteer training, discovered our web site and contacted us. He told us about his life and what’s going on with human rights in Romania. This cyber connection has resulted in an article by Tudor about life in Romania and how Peace Corps has affected his life. A couple of weeks later, Roberto from Central America e-mailed to tell us that he also had discovered our web site. He described how contact with gay Peace Corps volunteers had
LGB RPCV NewsLetter - May 1999
An RPCV Politician
Cathy Woolard joined the Atlanta City Council last year as the first openly gay candidate to be elected to public office in Georgia. And, surprise, surprise, she just happens to be an RPCV. Cathy served in Truk, Micronesia from 1980 to 1982, working as a counselor and promoting recreational activities for high school students. Possibly, the same courage that prompted her to join the Peace Corps led her to seek political office without hiding her identity. But, is she a lesbian politician, an RPCV politician, an RPCV lesbian politician, or none of the above? In a recent showdown with the Mayor of Atlanta over budgeting for community development, she firmly sided with the constituents of the district that she represents, despite a ploy by the Mayor to make it appear she was going against her lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) constituents. She continues to command the respect and support of Atlanta’s LGBT community. I was lucky to have the opportunity to interview her for the LGBRPCV newsletter. SM: Tell me about your background, where you grew up, went to school, etc. CW: I was born in Georgia, but also lived in Guam, Texas, Germany, and Washington, DC because my dad was in the Air Force. I graduated from high school in Northern Virginia. I went to Berry College and then to the University of Georgia, where I graduated with a BA in psychology. SM: What made you decide to join the Peace Corps? CW: I decided to join the Peace Corps when I was in junior high school. We lived in Germany, where one of our neighbors was a photographer for National Geographic. He and his wife, who were in Nepal for a few years working on a story, sent very exciting and beautiful pictures home to be developed and safeguarded. I
- by Suzanne Marks, RPCV
applied to development work in the US? CW: I don’t really see any similarities, but I was just out of college when I was in the Peace Corps and have grown a lot since then. I think Peace Corps gave me a lot of self-confidence in my ability to deal with different kinds of people and to see different perspectives—cultural sensitivity, if you will. Perhaps I do use insight gained from my Peace Corps experience more than I thought. SM: Were you “out” as a PCV? CW: I wasn’t at first. I was on a small island with about a dozen PCVs. I feared that some would reject me. It was a lonely place, even if everyone accepted me. Later on, I did come out to some people, which was fine. SM: As you may know, Peace Corps has had a policy since 1993 prohibiting discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. What would have made it easier for you to be “out” to more people as a PCV? CW: Having that policy in place would have helped somewhat. Having Peace Corps staff talk about gay issues during the screening process and in training would have made it safer for me to ask questions about my country and would have alleviated my fears of being terminated if I were “outed.” SM: Do you feel that all PCVs should be able to be “out” at their Peace Corps posts? CW:: I think that all PCVs have to develop a keen awareness of the culture in which they live to determine what is appropriate. I was aware of lesbian and gay Micronesians and, in fact, came out to some gay Micronesian men who had spent time in the US. I did not come out to any women I suspected of being gay because they were students. Also, I felt coming out might be disruptive to my role in the community, since I lived on a remote island. I never felt it
thought Joel and Anna were very exotic and adventurous. I wanted to be just like them. Joining the Peace Corps was one way to go to very remote places to live and work. SM: Why didn’t you join the military, like your father? CW: I was aware of the military policy of discrimination based on sexual orientation. I was also rather non-compliant with virtually any type of regimentation, so I figured I would be a better candidate for the Peace Corps rather than the military. SM: Did you think of Peace Corps as preparation for a political career prior to joining?
I think Peace Corps gave me a lot of selfconfidence in my ability to deal with different kinds of people and to see different perspectives—cultural sensitivity, if you will.
CW: No. I thought of Peace Corps as preparation for a career in international economic development. I was very focused on that as a career goal. SM: What happened to your career plans in international economic development? CW: I went to the School of International Affairs at the University of Denver for a master’s degree in economic development and completed nearly all the requirements. I returned to Atlanta to finish the degree, but never did. I became involved in gay politics and the rest is history. SM: Tell me how similar or dissimilar your Peace Corps job was to your current position on the Atlanta City Council. Were there any lessons learned from your Peace Corps experience that you can or have
LGB RPCV NewsLetter - May 1999
was my role to stand out anymore than I already did as a PCV. SM: Would you join the Peace Corps again? CW: I may join again in my retirement years, if my partner will also go. SM: How has being an “out” lesbian influenced your relationship with others on the Council and your perceived job performance? CW: There have been occasional awkward moments, but I feel I’m accepted and respected for being a capable and well-prepared Council member. SM: Have you ever experienced any discrimination in your current or past jobs? CW: I think that I was denied job interviews because of my prior work with the Human Rights Campaign. For one position, I know that my sexual
orientation was heavily discussed before a job offer was made. Discrimination against gay people is alive and well in America. SM: I understand that you are an advocate for hate crimes prevention and employment nondiscrimination legislation. How important will these laws be to LGBT civil rights? CW: I think they are very important, especially on the federal level. We still have not passed federal legislation protecting us from discrimination. These are important milestones for us as a community and we should stay focused on achieving these goals, even if things seem so much better than they did just a few years ago. SM: What advice do you have for current PCVs who have political aspirations? CW: You can’t win if you don’t run. I’ve very much enjoyed my time
on the City Council and encourage anyone with political aspirations to become involved in whatever issues about which you feel passionate. I also encourage you to take advantage of any opportunities for responsibility and for project leadership so you can gain experience and perspective when the right time comes for you to enter politics. SM: What are your future political aspirations? CW: I plan to do a great job as an Atlanta City Council member. SM: How can RPCVs help you achieve your goals? CW: Vote. Work in campaigns. Move to District 6. (Not necessarily in that order). If you would like to contact Cathy, please email her at email@example.com. • Suzanne Marks served in Togo from 1983 - 1985. She is our Southeast Representative and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.
PO Box 14332 San Francisco CA 94114-4332 email@example.com http://www.geocities.com/~lgbrpcv
NPCA Conference - August 13-15, St. Paul, Minnesota - We’ll Be There
Every two years the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), the Peace Corps’ official alumni association, holds a big get-together. We’ve been at the last four conferences, and on the last two occasions hosted great parties. We’re going to do it again this year. Charlie Rounds, one of our members and the president of RSVP Productions in Minneapolis, is hosting a reception between 5:00 and 7:00 on Friday evening the 13th (Friday the 13th?) near the Conference site. We’re still planning the details. We’re also planning an Information Table at the Conference’s Grand Bazaar. We did this at the conferences in Austin in ‘95 and San Diego in ‘97. These were
Mike Learned Kevin H. Souza
The LGB RPCV Newsletter is published quarterly by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual RPCV Organization, an affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association. We exist to promote Peace Corps ideals and acceptance of gays and lesbians throughout the world. Submission of articles or graphics to be published in the newsletter is encouraged. The right to use or edit materials remains with the editor. Copyright remains with the author. Send submissions or inquires to the above address or e-mail.
very successful events, and we’re ready to do it again. There is still a lot of planning to be done. We’re looking for people coming to the conference and those living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul areas to help staff the information table, and of course we’re looking for mobs of Peace Corps people to come to our party. If you’d like to help out, call or email Mike Learned, (415) 564-5998 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Access our web site after July 1 and we’ll have updated news about events at the conference. We want to see you there. •
LGB RPCV NewsLetter - May 1999
Why Being a Mentor is Important - by Anna Roche
A very good friend of mine once said, “There have been two major events in my life, (1) coming out and (2) my Peace Corps experience.” As luck would have it, I experienced both of those events simultaneously. During my experience, not only was I dealing with a new language, a different culture, and various health problems, but I was also discovering my sexuality. Certainly I had questioned my sexuality prior to Peace Corps, but this new reality forced me to question many things about my capabilities and myself. Could I finish these two years? Could I learn another language? Could I be a part of a community even though I was a foreigner? Could I do something positive for the community in which I had been placed? Could I be who I wanted to be? All of these questions and challenges were like the nourishment necessary for growth. I grew a lot during those two years and encourage others to consider trying Peace Corps for those same reasons. Upon returning to the states, San Francisco became my new home (from Pennsylvania) and being gay became a part of my identity. However, I knew that I didn’t want the experience that I had had overseas to end. Sharing my experience was very important and becoming part of a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group was the best way for me to accomplish that goal. Last year was my first meeting with the LGBRPCV group. Since that time I have become an active member. Promoting my Peace Corps experience, re-living it, and sharing it with others who are considering trying it has been very rewarding. It has allowed me to bring my experience home and encourage others to make that same commitment. Organizing the Peace Corps information booth for Gay Pride was my first official duty with the group. It was really exciting to talk to Peace Corps hopefuls about their fears, expectations, and perceptions of the Peace Corps experience. I also traveled to UC Santa Cruz to discuss my experience with college students and I serve as a Mentor, which allows interested men and women to contact me to hear about my experience in the Dominican Republic (94-96). I find that most people don’t really know what a Peace Corps assignment is all about, but they get excited just talking about the possibility. “What was it like?” is the most common question (after “Where were you?”). There is no easy way to explain it. How can one sum up two years of what I considered an entirely different world? There are Dominican Republic?” is always an important question for people involved with this particular group. My personal experience was somewhat limited since I was discovering that part of myself, but the capital certainly had gay culture...albeit underground. Latino cultures are not very accepting of homosexuality, but it exists there like it does in every corner of the world. Being gay in many cultures is not easy, but it is manageable if one is willing to concentrate on all the other facets of being a Peace Corps volunteer. “Would you make the same decision to go again if you could go back knowing what it was like?” This one is always the easiest question since the answer is a simple yes. Peace Corps was indeed one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Not a day passes that I am not reminded of my two years in the Peace Corps. It had such a powerful affect on me and on how I view life. Because it was such a powerful event in my life, it is important for me to share my experience and encourage others to set off on this incredible experience. Being a Mentor for the group allows me to do this. Most interested people don’t really know what to expect. All they seem to be sure of is that it will be an adventure. An adventure it is and it is exhilarating to discuss my experience with those who are truly interested. It evokes excitement on both sides. Everyone should have such an adventure in their lives. The world is a big place that offers so much diversity. We must not be afraid to step outside our familiar boundaries and experience life through the eyes of another culture. • Steering Committee member, Anna Roche served in the Dominican Republic from 1994 - 1996. She can be reached at [email@example.com].
Because it was such a powerful event in my life it is important for me to share my experience...
so many distinct aspects to Peace Corps life. There are the relationships with other volunteers, the native people, friends and family back home, and with yourself. All of these relationships grew and transformed as I grew and transformed. Everyday was a challenge and a learning experience. The person I was when I left was not the person who came home nearly two and a half years later. “Did you like your experience?” has to be the second most asked question. Again, that is not so easy to answer. Overall it is a resounding yes, but I don’t want to give people a false impression. Peace Corps was wonderful in various ways, but many situations were difficult. Dealing with different cultures, lifestyles, and language(s) [some countries have more than one language] makes everyday simple tasks quite a bit more complex. How one manages those differences is what shapes your experience. “What was it like to be gay in the
LGB RPCV NewsLetter - May 1999
Peace Corps Romania and Me
Peace Corps Romania is indeed about change. Besides all the big meaning given to this commonplace utterance, I have changed a lot since I met Peace Corps. I have worked as a language instructor during the last two incountry training sessions for new volunteers and I will be there for a third. I had had a few years experience teaching adults and I know its not only about teaching. Considering the special situation of the American trainees, a language instructor is a confidant, shrink, friend, teacher, fortune-teller and professional liar. After becoming very close friends with many trainees, I realized that coming out to American people is essentially different from coming out to my own folk. After having become more and more involved with the gay rights group in Romania, I felt comfortable enough to try to set up a cross-cultural session on LGBT issues in Romania. To my surprise, none of my Romanian colleagues on the training staff objected (this shows other depths of the change I first mentioned). What’s more, I received a lot of support from my direct supervisor, the language coordinator and members of the Peace Corps staff. The speaker at the session was a close friend from ACCEPT, the Romanian gay rights group here in Bucharest. Not only did the trainees attend with great interest, but they also came up with some valuable lobbying suggestions. Some time before this, one of the trainees and I tried to organize a GLB evening. It wasn’t that successful, but I hope it’ll get better this coming training. When the Peace Corps training started, I was already a member of ACCEPT. Since then I have also worked as the editor of ACCEPT’s monthly newsletter. There are some Peace Corps volunteers who receive the newsletter at their sites. ACCEPT is a human rights non-governmental organization that fights for the rights of sexual minorities in Romania. We are a human rights organization because all forms of association of gay people are still banned by law. This is why one may say that some of the activities we support are actually illegal. The Dutch government, through Program Matra, finances our organization. ACCEPT is acting for the repeal of Article 200 of the Criminal Code that impedes gays from attaining their political and human rights. In addition to publishing our monthly newsletter, we’re setting up a documentation center. We also run two weekly informal get-togethers at our Safe House.
- by Tudor Kovacs
After becoming very close friends with many trainees, I realized that coming out to American people is essentially different from coming out to my own folk.
The greatest concern for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Romanians is the current version of Article 200 of the Penal Code. It states, among other things, that samesex relations are punished if perpetrated in public or if they produce “public scandal.” By Romanian law, “public” is your own personal flat if someone peeps through the curtains from the building across the street. In the same tone, “public scandal” is nowhere defined in Romanian law, so it can mean everything, and it was actually shown to mean everything by the report of Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). ACCEPT has published this report and distributed it to government bodies in Romania. By
virtue of the same article, any form or association or proselytism by gay people is punishable under the law. As for ordinary Romanian people, many support these laws that their elective representatives pass. It is only the young generation in more urban communities, and people who have been exposed to the ideas of human rights that are more liberal and accepting. By comparison the situation is different in other parts of Central Europe. Gay people walk hand in hand in the center of Prague. Hungary decriminalized homosexuality years ago. The gay bar in Sofia, Bulgaria, is famous. We have our underground gay life in Romania—don’t worry. But, the concept of “gay-friendly” in the States is not the same as in Romania. Many volunteers here in Romania know that. I can’t remember how many of them came to me and said a simple and treasureable “keep up the fight.”•
Tudor Kovacs can be reached by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. ACCEPT can be reached at email@example.com. Thier web site is at http://accept.ong.ro/. Other resources on the Gay and Lesbian community in Romania can be found on Romanian LesBiGay on the Internet at http:// www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/ 1811 and Romania Action for Gay Men, Lesbians and Bisexuals at http://www.raglb.org.uk/.
LGB RPCV NewsLetter - May 1999
A Return to India
During 1998 I read many stories in this newsletter by former volunteers describing their experiences and the emotions they felt when they went back to visit their Peace Corps sites. These articles strengthened my resolve and spurred me on to go back to India where I served as a volunteer in the late 60s and early 70s. I had thought about returning to Madras in Southern India for years, but had always postponed the trip for one reason or another. Finally late last year, I decided to go. When I went into the Peace Corps, I was very much in the closet. I would not admit, even to myself, that I was queer. I played the straight role during my tour. After completing my assignment I had trouble readjusting to American Society. With the passage of time and some good therapy I not only reentered life here, but later flew out of the closet with gusto, “married,” and settled down to middleclass gay life. Over the years I kept up a steady correspondence with the Indian friends I had worked with. Later these friends started asking when I planned to return for a visit. When I decided to return, a great debate raged within me about how much I should reveal of my personal life. I decided to just let things happen, and if there were opportunities, I would share my gay life with them, particularly with my closest Indian friend. This special friend was one of the employees at the food cooperative where I was assigned. We had hit if off when we first met. After we got to know each other and become good friends, P.L. took me home to his “native place” (his village), where I was introduced to rural Indian life. Because of my Italian heritage and appearance, I was able to pass as an Indian from the north. We were full of adventure back then. P.L. covered for me so that I was able to enter temples where only Hindus were allowed. He
- by Joe Eckberg
apartment that is one small room that serves as kitchen, bedroom and living room. The toilet is in a separate area and is shared by five other families. Water comes from a well in the inner courtyard. This is also where all the tenants bathe. India is a land of extreme contradictions: rich and poor, beauty and ugliness, hot and cold, and generous to a fault and completely indifferent to suffering and death. My observation is that India suffers from a split personality. One foot is in its rich cultural past, the other in the twentieth century. Women in saris staff modern computers. Trucks and oxen battle with water buffalo driven oxcarts on main roads. Superstition and rigid rules of behavior exist side by side with modern science and the ability to explode an atomic bomb. During my ten-day stay, we went to all the places where I worked and played. In the last twenty-seven years, there was not much change in the infrastructure. The city is more crowded, polluted, and noisy. Memories came as a flood. I began to remember the Tamil language and use it, much to the amusement of the Indians we met at various social gatherings. Many times I was asked why I did not marry. I replied that I was in a long-term relationship. But then I was asked “who will take care of you in your old age?” To an Indian this is a very important question, because the older generation depends on their offspring to provide for them. We talked a bit about this, but there were no more questions about my private life. In truth I did not talk about my sexuality. What was the point? They had accepted me for who I was. My sexual life was as private as theirs. Life for most of them was just getting through the day. It seems to me that my friend has a difficult life with lots of struggles. I am very concerned about his health.
helped me in other ways as well. I was slow in picking up the local language, Tamil, so he would act as my translator when I needed help. Because of this friendship I was able to experience much more of India than I would have on my own. When I planned to visit Varanasi (also called Benares) which is the holiest of Hindu places, I paid his expenses to accompany me. In return he acted as my translator, tour guide and traveling
Memories came as a flood. I began to remember the Tamil language and use it...
companion. One of the most moving experiences during my stay in India took place during this trip. Varanasi is on the River Ganges. As P.L. and I arrived at the steps leading down into the river, he underwent a religious ecstasy. I stepped aside and watched as he entered the river and began to purify himself. I sat in a state of fascination as I watched him and the other pilgrims perform their ablutions. I am still moved by the memory of that sight. I brought several gifts with me that P.L. and his family had requested. After a four-day holiday in Bali to rest up and prepare for what I knew would be an emotional encounter, I arrived in Madras. I was very warmly greeted by my friend, his family and other friends, and checked into my hotel. It was the week before Diwali, which is a feast day that closely resembles our Christmas season. Families exchange gifts. I was prepared. Many years ago P.L. married a woman from his caste. It was an arranged marriage. He and Yasothai did not meet until the day before the wedding. They now have a fourteenyear-old son. The three live in an
LGB RPCV NewsLetter - May 1999
He talks about an early death so that he can get out of the nightmare of life he lives. Over the years, he sent so many letters begging me to work some magic so he could come to the U.S. One day we went to an ATM machine and I used my credit card to withdraw rupees so that he could buy clothes for himself and his family. P.L. stood and looked at the machine in shock as the money poured out. He whispered to me asking if there was a person behind the machine counting the money. He could not believe how issuing money without someone in authority counting it out was possible. The experiences of my gift giving say so much about what life is like in India. One of the gifts I brought with me was a necklace for Yasothai. A few days after I gave it to her, P.L. informed me that she could not wear it because the chain was silver and her caste only wears gold. I found out after I had returned to the States that this and most of the other gifts I’d left with them had been stolen. As my day of departure came closer, my friend and his family wanted me to extend my stay, but I was ready to go. Most of the romantic images I had carried of India since I left had dissipated during my short visit. I told my friends that if their son earns good grades in high school and is admitted to a school of higher education, I would help with his tuition. Even though we will write and stay connected, I now have no desire to return again, but I’m so glad I went back. It was something I’d thought about for so long. Now it’s settled, accomplished. I feel closure about this part of my life.• Joe Eckberg served in India in the early 1970’s. He can be reached by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pride Events - 1999
Over the last three years, Regional Peace Corps offices have had information/recruiting tables at Gay Pride events around the country. LGB RPCV members have helped staff these tables. This is what we know so far about what’s happening in 1999. Atlanta: Peace Corps will have a recruiting/information table at Atlanta Parade and Festival June 26 and 27. Peace Corps is sharing a table with CDC GLOBE. A recruiter from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) will also be there on Sunday recruiters from two federal agencies. Suzanne Marks and other local RPCVs will help staff the table. We’re looking for more RPCVs to help with staffing the table and to attend a gettogether. Suzanne is planning a dinner on the Saturday evening. There’ll be a sign and information about location at the Peace Corps table. She can be reached on (404) 624-3469 or by email: email@example.com. New York: The New York Peace Corps office will be involved in New York Pride events. Recruiter Robert Greenan (Russian Far East, 95-97) is heading up recruiting/information efforts. There is the possibility of a panel discussion of RPCVs at the Gay Community Service Center during Pride Week. Robert can be reached at the New York City Peace Corps office or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org San Francisco: The Bay Area affiliate of LGB RPCVs is going to do something different this year - march as a group in the low-key Santa Cruz Pride Parade on June 6. Bill Erdmann will again host a pre-parade (San Francisco Pride Parade) barbecue on June 26 on his deck in the Castro. The San Francisco Peace Corps office will have a recruiting/information table at the Pride Festival in Civic Center on June 26 and 27, and local RPCV members will help staff. Contact Wayne Hill for more information. Phone: (415) 695-RPCV or email: email@example.com. Southern California: LGB RPCV’s Southern California affiliate is planning involvement at Pride events in Los Angeles and San Diego this summer and next fall in Palm Springs. Contact Tom Duffy for more information. Phone (714) 836-8261 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Washington, D.C.: The D.C. LGB RPCV affiliate plans a parade contingent with Peace Corps’ employees on Sunday June 13. A social event is being planned for the evening before, Saturday June 12. Contact Dennis Gilligan at (202) 332-1114 or e-mail: email@example.com. Watch our web site for the most current news and contacts: http://www.geocities.com/~lgbrpcv.•
AIDS Rides and Walks
We’ve all been reading about the decrease in funding from corporations, foundations, and government agencies for AIDS related programs. Because of the successes of the new drug therapies and the reduction of AIDS-related death rates, the immediacy of the AIDS crisis is receding from view. But AIDS continues to
spread, devastate peoples’ lives, and kill. Early summer has been the traditional time each year for AIDS bike rides and walks around the country. Support our sisters and brothers who are participating in these important events. Contribute to their efforts. The end of this nightmare is not yet in sight. •