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Activism: This is where we’re headed

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“We collectively all need each other because we can only make the needed change together.”
– Peter Twyman, CEO, Keep a Child Alive

On December 1, World AIDS Day, we gathered with activists from various movements to learn from powerful 1980s AIDS activism, prepare for the road ahead and reinforce that we are indeed stronger together. These extraordinary activists shared their insights, lessons learned, strategies for effective change and encouraging thoughts on where we go from here.

From data collection and organizing against police brutality, fighting for medical research and health access for HIV/AIDS, to using protests to accomplish policy action for immigration reform, these activists are already forging a new path forward and ready to take on the changing political environment to ensure that we uphold social justice and equal rights in all aspects of our lives. You can see clips of the event on Twitter @keepachildalive and photos of the event here. Over 20,000 viewers to date have watched this discussion on social media – #ActivismNow.

We are so grateful to our co-host BET Networks and our moderator, the incomparable Michaela Angela Davis, as well as our panelists:

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Eric Sawyer of ACT UP NY
“We have the tools, we know how to prevent new infections, we know how to treat people, we just lack the money and the political will to end AIDS.” (See a recap of ACT UP’s history and why they chose the actions they did.)

Hannah Bronfman of HBFIT + Seed Street
“We have to fight harder. This is not a time for women to not voice their opinion. You have a platform and you better use your voice… We don’t have time to be subservient here. This is life or death.”

Alana Hairston of Keep a Child Alive
“Our work is really rooted in community. Communities know their problems and they know how to respond to them.” (Join our campaign to Love the 80s, Stop the AIDieS)

Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream
“We need to be talking to folks who share our values and ideas. We need to walk into what’s uncomfortable because we are going to need more people to change the country and be able to fight back the next 4 years. There are issues within our own communities – anti-Blackness, racism, classism.” (Text “Here to Stay” to 877877 to get involved.)

Kenyon Farrow of Treatment Action Group
“We have to maintain our big vision for what we want. We can’t lose a fight to just maintain what we can maintain.” (See his closing remarks here.)

Sam Sinyangwe of Campaign Zero
“What is required of us over the next 4 years is a level of organizing that frankly has not been done in this country before. We can talk about history. We can talk about amazing accomplishments that have happened but we are at a new level. There are over 104 million Americans who support the Black Lives Matter movement and contrast that with 61 million who voted for Trump. So we actually have numbers on our side. The question is can we actually get 104 million people involved in the process of creating change that goes beyond donating to an organization and showing up to vote every four years but is more substantive. That is the model we are trying to build.”

Thank you for joining us, we look forward to seeing you at our next discussion in 2017.

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