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33 million people live with HIV/AIDS worldwide – 2.1 million die each year and 2.7 million more are infected.

What will you do this World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day began on December 1, 1988 and has since been recognized around the world each year. It has become a key opportunity to increase awareness, fight against prejudice, commemorate the lives lost to the disease, and celebrate the victories in increased access to services and treatment.

This year’s World AIDS Day theme is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights,’ which offers the opportunity to recognize that despite the strides, the most marginalized and vulnerable populations still do not have access to the care and services they need – that access is their human right. The review of the Millennium Development Goals this past September reminded us of the goal to achieve universal access and World AIDS Day is another moment to remind policymakers, parents, teachers, and friends alike that we have lots to do to achieve universal access and protect human rights.


Do something this World AIDS Day. Whether you have a lot or a little time, we have just the way for you to get involved:

I care about the issue but don’t think I have time to plan an event.

I can whip up something quick, send me a free kit!

Bring it on! I’ll organize a film screening for World AIDS Day, send me a free kit!

I care about the issue but don’t think I have time to plan an event.

1 ) Read the rest of this entry »

Targeting: The Governor of KS, The KS State Senate, The KS State House, see more…
Started by: Kristen Tebow, RC – Kansas/Missouri

Some people say that slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The truth is that there are more slaves in America in modern times, than during the Civil War. Modern slavery has a new name. That name is human trafficking.

Human trafficking is defined by the Trafficking Protocol of 2000 as “a criminal activity in which people are recruited, harboured, transported, bought, or kidnapped to serve an exploitative purpose, such as sexual slavery, forced labor, or child soldiery.” As one can see, there are many different faces of human trafficking. The most prevalent cases of human trafficking that exist in America are sex trafficking cases. Most of these cases involve young girls involved in prostitution.

Contrary to popular belief, there are cases of trafficking that happen in the heartland of the United States. A lot of these cases are never brought to justice. However, in 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office launched a sting operation calledOperation Guardian Angel and there were several cases that took place in Kansas so it is obvious that a task force would be a need for a task force in Kansas.

Also in the same article, it was mentioned that there is no official task force like there are in other states in the U.S. where human trafficking is prevalent such asColoradoCaliforniaFlorida,IllinoisOhio, and Texas. There are many arguments that can be made about population sizes of the cities in these states compared to Kansas, but I can counter each argument with Craigslist Trafficking that happens all over Kansas and the long stretch of I-70 that runs through Kansas. Also, since the overall population of Kansas is low, Kansas is arguably a terrific place for human trafficking because of the remoteness of the state.

There should be a task force in Kansas. Where is a more perfect place to start a task force than Manhattan, KS? We have four student organizations at Kansas State University who are active in the movement. We have over 25 individuals dedicated to the issue and professors who have done research on trafficking on a local, national, and global level. This petition will prove that the community wants Kansas to get involved in ending the most hideous of crimes committed in the world.

Another reason you should care: All of us, even Kansans, contribute to human trafficking by buying consumer goods that are made by underpaid workers who are often maltreated. Most of the time these workers are children.

Most importantly and the reason you all should care: We had a student at Kansas State University who was kidnapped, gang-raped, and trafficked at Fort Riley. I think that this alone should warrant a prevention movement.

The task force would provide prevention educational programs, research on the issue, awareness event-planning, community action and outreach, and it would provide jobs for the community. There are many benefits for launching something like this in our town!

Please help us join the fight and show that Kansas cares!

http://humantrafficking.change.org/petitions/view/start_a_task_force_for_human_trafficking_in_kansas_-_manhattan#

This semester has been exceedingly progressive at Kansas State University with new advocates and activists coming out of the woodwork. In September, I collaborated with other local shelters and organizations to put on a very successful “Take Back the Night” event in Lawrence, KS.

http://www.nbcactionnews.com/dpp/news/local_news/abuse-victims-rally-awareness-in-lawrence

October was a busy month! We supported a fellow organization on campus, Coalition, who put on a Rave to Save to raise money for Zindagi Trust, an organization working to aid refugees affected by the flooding in Pakistan. Together, with other organizations on campus, including members of KSUAID, they raised over $700 for the cause.

Also this month, we put on our CARE 2010 MDG event. We showed the short film “Baht” and invited a fellow professor, Nadia Shapkina, from KSU to speak on the issue of Global Gender Inequality and how it prevents women from entering into the workforce in their own countries forcing them to find jobs in other countries and makes them 10 times more vulnerable to human trafficking situations. It was a very successful event with no spending and we had many students, community members, and even students from other campuses (and even Missouri and Florida) attend the event. The official headcount was 83 people in attendance. By the end of the film, we had people leave before questions, but it was a very interactive audience with numerous questions. Pictures are coming soon!

We are currently planning two major events, as well as several fundraisers for these events. These events will be happening on K-State’s campus in Manhattan, KS.

For the first event, we are planning on showing the film “Blood Diamonds” and providing alternative options for buying Read the rest of this entry »

I’m not a dedicated reader of astrological forecasts. The only times I do peruse the horoscope section is on crowded early morning trains into Boston, when it’s a toss-up between looking at what my future holds or staring into some guy’s adam’s apple.

Three days before the global peace & security event I organized in Bristol, RI on March 31st, I read my horoscope. It said, “watch out for difficulties ahead. Those in event management, public office and students must take special care.”

I’m a student. I was planning an awareness event on civil military balance and refugee crisis in Iraq and Afghanistan. Did I mention it was a rainy day I read that horoscope on?

D-Day

On March 31st, there was still a state of emergency declared in RI. Immense flooding, historical amounts of rainfall, water damage and traffic issues affected everyone in the state. One of my panelists found a river in his back yard! Other speakers found it hard to get to the event, what with road blocks and diversions.

Which made it all the more a miracle when the event turned out to be a success!

Audience gathering for the Panel Discussion.

Read the rest of this entry »

A few weeks ago, on Wednesday, March 24, fifty students at the University of Missouri attended an International Reproductive Health Forum that I organized in collaboration with Americans for Informed Democracy and Advocates for Youth as part of the International Youth Speak Out Project. It was co-hosted by the Feminist Student Union, American Association of Women (AAUW) MU Affiliate and BODYTALK (an e-zine I started last fall) and featured two international reproductive health activists from Nigeria and Jamaica, Fadekemi Akinfaderin and Maxsalia Salmon (respectively).

Fadekemi and Maxsalia are actively working in their countries to mobilize their peers, lobby policy makers and speak at various international conferences to address issues of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. They screened a short documentary that illustrated the state of reproductive health in their own countries and then led a discussion about the film and about the importance of US-based youth activism in ensuring young people’s access to reproductive health and family planning programs internationally. After the forum ended, a brief advocacy training was held for a small group of Mizzou students to prepare them for a lobbying visit at Senator Christopher Bond’s office. The following day, the student lobbying group asked for Senator Bond’s support of the $1 billion appropriation for international family planning and for sponsorship of a Senate companion bill to the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010, which is expected to be introduced in April by Representative Yvette Clark.

The forum showcased the interconnections of youth from abroad and youth from the United States. Despite our geographical distance, it illustrated that we are united by our experience of fighting for bodily autonomy as young people and that our activism for just global reproductive health policies will impact youth from all over the world. The forum also demystified the process of lobbying and demonstrated how simple (not to mention, how important) it is to take political action as a young person. I had never visited a legislator on the state or national level, and I found the experience exciting, empowering and even a little addictive. The two days were completely inspiring and were a terrific way to wrap up school just before Spring Break. For more information, listen to the radio broadcast on KBIA, the local NPR station, or read the article published in The Missourian, the local student-run community newspaper.

On Monday, March 22nd, the International (Reproductive Health) Youth Speak Out Tour, sponsored by AIDemocracy’s Global Health Program and Advocates for Youth, arrived at Western Kentucky University. After a day of raising awareness on campus, WKU students traveled to the William H. Natcher Federal Building to pay a visit to Senator Mitch McConnell. Their activism garnered some exciting local news coverage. Check out the article and accompanying video here:

Students Join Together for the Cause
from WBKO.com – Bowling Green’s local news affiliate

Western Kentucky University students join youth activists from Nigeria and Jamaica to spread the word about youth sexual and reproductive rights.

The students paid a visit to Senator Mitch McConnell in order to increase U.S funding for global reproductive health to raise awareness of an everyday problem

Both youth activists and WKU students say this meeting has the potential to do alot of great things.

“And to show you its all over the states actually, we’re quite similar and there’s a need, there’s a need to create awareness with these issues,” said Maxsalia Salmon, a youth activist.

“Well this is definitely just the beginning so we had the event now we engaged some students, hopefully the students will follow-up with us,” said Matt Vaughn, WKU Junior. “And we can have a meeting like this.”

The activists will continue their journey to eight more states after leaving Kentucky.

Check out the television coverage here!

For me, being a Regional Coordinator at AIDemocracy involves putting together awareness, advocacy and action events in the context of global peace & security– my program area of choice.

Having grown up in Oman and India, I learned early that peace and security go hand in hand, chicken AND egg, both at the same time. I also learned that without development, peace and security measures often died still-born. According to Noeleen Heyzer,

“Peace is the absence of war, but beyond that peace is a commodity unlike any other. Peace is security. Peace is a mindset. Peace is a way of living. Peace is the capacity to transcend past hurts — to break cycles of violence and forge new pathways that say, “I would like to make sure we live as a community where there is justice, security, and development for all members.” At the end of the day, peace is an investment; it is something you create by investing in a way of life and monitoring where your resources go.”

An investment. Gandhi once said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

I believe the same holds true for human security: how can you worry about democratic processes, the global significance of the war in Iraq or climate change if you don’t have access to clean running water, if your government changes every 8 months or if you have to bribe your way into a school or a job?

Read the rest of this entry »

It was the beginning of my fifth and final year at the University of Missouri, I had just tacked on a new major, and the majority of my friends had graduated and moved away. How was I going to take an active role in my new department; how was I going to fill this new void in my social calendar; and importantly, how was I going to get a better grip on what I wanted to do after graduation (because this time around I planned to actually do so)? I could… launch a ‘zine. A sexy ‘zine. Yeah! A ‘zine on sexuality and reproductive health, if executed well, would be a seemingly perfect way to engage my peers in a collaborative project that was interesting, meaningful and activating. It would also allow me to explore my interest of sexual and reproductive health. And even better: I may even build a new friendship or two (or thirty).

So, that’s what I did. Last month, I launched an e-zine called BODYTALK at the University of Missouri. BODYTALK is a completely student produced publication that focuses on issues of sexuality, bodies, and reproductive health and is rooted in the belief that cooperative, judgment-free discussion of our own experiences is key to achieving equality and freedom.

The first issue was entitled The Virgin Issue and aimed to start near the beginning of students’ sexual narratives with their first sexual experiences (whether they have had one or not). The next issue, The Medical Issue, is scheduled to release this week and encompasses experiences in which sexuality/sexual bodies and medicine intersect.

Read the rest of this entry »

Students at the University of Florida are working to help farmworkers battle for fair wages and basic human rights.

By Kristen Abdullah and Richard Blake
November 16, 2009

Migrant worker Jorge Rodriguez plays the “quijada,” in Immokalee, Fla. Farmworkers celebrated the recent decision by Taco Bell to accede to the demands of local tomato pickers, who led a four-year boycott against the restaurant chain, and pay a penny more for each pound of Florida tomatoes. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

As we made the four-hour journey south to tomato-town Immokalee, Fla., we ran through the itinerary for the long weekend to come and familiarized ourselves with the 40-plus pages of reading material that we were supposed to have completed three weeks before. The thick packet of literature included stories like “Immokalee family sentenced for slavery,” “Apartheid in America,” and “A more-complete definition of ‘sustainable.’” By the time we arrived in the desolate town, just after midnight, we felt confident in our school-child ability to recite the labor history of this town and felt briefed on the ultimate reason for our visit.

After becoming fed up with the impoverished condition that enslaved them, migrant workers started a grassroots organization called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in 1993. Consisting mostly of people from Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti, these workers had already experienced both verbal and physical abuses since their arrival in the United States. Most of them could remember a time when, back in their own countries, they survived as subsistence farmers—selling crops and living off corn, squash, beans, and, most important, their own autonomy. They weren’t rich, but they were dignified.

But after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was established among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, these small-time farmers could not compete with subsidized crops from the States. Before, Mexico was a major wheat exporter. Now, Mexico only exports cheap labor.

Read the rest of this entry »

The hip-hop heavyweight is on a college tour, though audiences should expect to hear more weighty rhetoric than witty rhymes.

Cross-post by Delaney Rohan, Campus Progress

lupe

Laying his rap talents aside for an evening, critically-acclaimed hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco gave George Washington University students a lesson in history this week. But unlike what’s taught in closed-door college classrooms, this lesson belonged to anyone who would listen.

Facing a darkened auditorium of over 100 students, Fiasco, drenched in a spotlight, began the evening by reading a now exalted speech Muhammad Ali once made in protest of the Vietnam War.

Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.

Nearly 40 years later—with America still mired in Iraq, the Obama Administration contemplating sending 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, and nearly 50 million people lacking access to health care –Ali’s message remained emotionally relevant.

Read the rest of this entry »

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