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AIDS Action Demo:
June 3rd-Washington, D.C.

By Jesse Monteagudo

Those of you who are not going to Orlando for "Gay Days" might consider traveling to Washington, D.C. for the AIDS ACTION DEMO on June 3rd. According to the June 3rd Action Committee, organizers of the AIDS Action Demo, the march is "a massive demonstration in our nation's capital on Sunday, June 3rd, 2001 to mark the 20th year of the AIDS crisis. . . .

Hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals will march on Washington, DC to demand swift, compassionate and comprehensive action against AIDS worldwide." Because of the high incidence of AIDS among children and young people, "The organizers are calling for youth and children to lead the march. . . We urge all organizations serving youth and children to assist us in encouraging their participation." Over 150 AIDS organizations have signed in as sponsors of the AIDS Action Demo.

It is hard to believe that it's been 20 years since we first became aware of the AIDS epidemic. Since then, as the AIDS Action Committee reminds us, more than 20 million people have died of HIV/AIDS and 40 million people live with HIV worldwide.

Every day 14,500 people are infected with HIV and 8,200 people die from AIDS complications. To fight the AIDS epidemic, and the equally serious epidemic of apathy and silence, June 3rd ACTION was created as "a national coalition of individuals and organizations working together to mark the twentieth year of the HIV pandemic.

Initiated by the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt with the National Minority AIDS Council and the National Association of People with AIDS, JUNE 3rd ACTION has been endorsed by AIDS and civil rights organizations throughout the United States."

"As the third decade of AIDS begins . . . we seek to renew the global campaign against HIV disease and to press for swift, compassionate and comprehensive action worldwide." Among the demands of the AIDS Action Committee (not necessarily shared by all the sponsors) are the following:

1 "the pharmaceutical industry must make further concessions on the pricing of HIV treatments."

2 "the United States and other wealthy nations must match the pharmaceutical industry's concessions with sufficient contributions..."

3 "life-prolonging HIV treatments available to most people living with AIDS in the United States must be made accessible to all people with AIDS…"

4 "the United States must do more to assist other nations and ... also [has] much work to be done at home.

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Additionally, June 3rd Action "will continue to fight for a cure and a vaccine" and for "the human rights and dignity of all people living with AIDS, regardless of nationality, gender, race, sexual orientation, faith, age or economic status."

To help accomplish these goals, Committee members "urge all those who share these beliefs to march with us in Washington, DC on Sunday, June 3, 2001, to mark the twentieth year of the HIV pandemic, to remember the millions who have died, and to renew our struggle."

The AIDS Action Demo will begin at noon on June 3rd at noon in Lafayette Park. Since the march route is approximately 4 miles, the Committee has understandably planned additional assembly areas for those who are not able to walk the entire march. Marchers are urged to dress comfortably, wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water and sun screen.

"The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt will not be displayed during the march, but ALL OF THE 80,000 NAMES within the Quilt will be read, beginning on Friday morning, June 1 and continuing 24 hours a day through Sunday, June 3. . . . The NAMES Project will be accepting new panels for the Quilt at the conclusion of the march on June 3rd." Though the AIDS Action Demo will be militant in nature, "the June 3rd Action organizers oppose all forms of violence against people and property."

For more information about the June 3rd AIDS Action Demo, or to learn about new developments, check the AIDS Action Web site at

Though the march was seemingly put together at the last minute--at least in comparison with previous "marches on Washington"-- organizers hope that enough people will show up to make a difference. It's certainly a worthier goal than going to a circuit party at Disney, IMHO.

After meeting across the street from the White House on June 3 at noon in Lafayette Park,. Marchers will go north on 15th Street past the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, east on L Street, south on Vermont Avenue, south on 15th Street, and then east on the Mall to the Capitol. (Total Distance: 2.3 miles)

The reading of the names begins at dawn on Friday, June 1 in Lafayette Park and the new Quilt panel dedication will follow the March at 5 p.m. on the Capitol Steps. For new developments, please consult the AIDS Action Demo Web site.
Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance writer who lives in South Florida with his domestic partner. He can be reached at

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