Westside Gazette (Fort Lauderdale) (06.28.12)
The 17-city Road to AIDS 2012 town-hall meetings tour stopped in Philadelphia in May, and the 71 people in attendance heard about the benefits of attending the conference and how to make the most of the experience. About half those present said they plan to attend the 19th International AIDS Conference (IAC), or AIDS 2012, which is being held July 22-27 in Washington.
“You have a robust epidemic here,” said Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute (BAI), as he stressed the importance of Philadelphia activists making the trip. “You don’t want Philadelphia to be left out of conversations about ending the epidemic.”
Wilson also noted that BAI will be “publishing a black road map to the conference” each day through two special publications dedicated to AIDS 2012.
Megan Warren, an AIDS 2012 coordinator, talked about how Philadelphians who cannot attend the gathering can participate by hosting a conference hub — a meeting held by local organizations where activists can screen conference sessions free of charge. One audience member said she was already part of an effort to host such a meeting; about one-quarter of attendees indicated they would be interested in creating hubs.
Waheedah Shabazz-El, of the Positive Women’s Network, stressed that the Global Village component of AIDS 2012 is free and open to the public. When she attended her first IAC, Shabazz-El said, “I thought the Global Village was the conference — that’s how lively it was.”