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FW: Constituency For Africa Town Hall Meetings

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  • Bell, Elizabeth
    IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CONSTITUENCY FOR AFRICA (CFA) Be a part of this historic effort Constituency for Africa Town Hall Meeting U.S. Policy and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25 4:15 AM

       
      IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CONSTITUENCY FOR AFRICA (CFA)
      Be a part of this historic effort
       
      Constituency for Africa
      Town Hall Meeting
      U.S. Policy and Africa's Promise:
      The Global Challenge of HIV/AIDS
      In conjunction with the Democratic National Convention
       
      Tuesday, August 15, 2000 , 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
      The Regal Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
      Open to the public
       
      Engage in frank discussions with national and international policy makers ... Shape U.S. Policy on Africa
      ... Debate the issues ...
       
      Topics:
      The 13th International HIV/AIDS Conference in Africa - Developing a Global Strategy ... Trade,
      Investment and Development: A Role for the Private Sector ... Debt Relief: A Tool to Fight the HIV/AIDS
      Pandemic and Support Human Development ... The Media: Friend or Foe of Africa ... and more.
       
      Featuring (partial list):
      The Honorable James Clyburn, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus
      The Honorable Ronald V. Dellums, Chair, Constituency for Africa; Chair, President's Advisory Council on
      HIV/AIDS
      Ernest Green, Chair, African Development Foundation
      The Honorable Richard Holbrooke, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations*
      Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
      The Honorable Barbara Lee, Member, House Subcommittee on Africa; Marshall Plan for Africa
      The Honorable Donald Payne, Ranking Members, House Subcommittee on Africa
      Dr. David Satcher, U.S. Surgeon General*
      Ambassador Andrew Young, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; President, Goodworks, Inc.*
      Dr. Ronald Walters, political commentator; syndicated columnist; Professor, University of Maryland
      (* invited)
       
      Receive a "Road Map for Action" ... Attend the "Africa Policy Luncheon"... Experience the African and African American AIDS Quilt ... Celebrate at the "African Gala" (follows Town Hall Meeting; jointly sponsored by CFA and the African Marketplace)
       
      "Africa is where we must draw the line in the sand ... The weapons that will stop the death march of HIV/AIDS will propel Africa toward a bright and stable future." Ronald V. Dellums, Chair, CFA
       
      For more information and pre-registration, call 310.281.7680 or CFA at 202.371.0588
       
      Supporters (partial list):
      African Development Foundation... African Diplomatic Corps...Africa Club-World Bank...AFRICARE
      ...AGOA Coalition...AIDS Free Africa...AME Church Development & Service Agency...Ark
      Foundation...Barden Corporation International...Blacks in Government...Black Meetings & Tourism
      Magazine...Bread for the World... Congressman James Clyburn, Chair, Congressional Black
      Caucus...DC-Dakar/US Africa Sister Cities...Ford Foundation... Global Health Council...Habitat for
      Humanity...Congresswoman Barbara Lee...NAACP...National Association of Churches...National Black
      Leadership Forum...National Council of Negro Women...National Organization of Black County
      Officials...National Summit on Africa...Rainbow PUSH Coalition... Ronald H. Brown Foundation
      Sponsors (partial list): Bristol Meyer Squibb...Chevron...Coca Cola...Ford Motor Company...Ford
      Foundation...Health Care International Management Co...WorldSpace, Inc.
       
      CFA was founded in 1990 by concerned U.S. citizens, Africanists and Africa-focused organizations committed to
      the progress and empowerment of Africa and African people. CFA educates the public and U.S. policy makers
      about Africa and fosters collaboration among a broad-based coalition of American, African and international
      organization. CFA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Ronald V. Dellums, Chair, Melvin P. Foote, President & CEO
       
      *****
      Background news release:
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 12, 2000
      Contact: David Saunders, 202.371.0588 or Kay Hixson, 310.410.9891
       
      Coalition Calls for War Against HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Africa
      Message Delivered to the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee
       
      (Washington, D.C., July 12, 2000) The Coalition for U.S. Policy to Conquer HIV/AIDS in Africa called on
      the Democratic Party to adopt as part of its official party platform an "Africa plank" endorsing an
      aggressive U.S. policy to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.
       
      The Coalition, an alliance of Africa-focused organizations, is headed by former Congressman
      Ronald V. Dellums, chair of the Constituency for Africa (CFA), the host organization. Dr. Ron Walters,
      University of Maryland Professor of Political Science, is the coalition's facilitator.
       
      In his statement to the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee (see attached), Mr. Dellums
      challenged Democrats to "steer the political might and moral authority" of the party toward immediate
      and significant action. "The world has become a global community," reads the statement. "Political
      borders will not contain HIV/AIDS. It can not be discounted as someone else's problem."
       
      An "Africa Plank" will focus national attention on the need for the U.S. to assert bold leadership,
      in partnership with the international community, to fight HIV/AIDS and increase funding to fight the
      pandemic. The proposed plank reads in part, "Because America values democracy, free trade and civil
      stability, the HIV/AIDS crisis has become a national security issue. The United States should work
      towards the eradication of HIV/AIDS in Africa."
       
      The HIV/AIDS crisis is the most threatening issue Africa faces. More than 6,000 people die daily.
      In just a few years, it is estimated that Africa will raise 40 million AIDS orphans. "Governmental,
      educational and economic systems are crumbling as Africa's workforce - both professional and laborers
      - perish from AIDS," declared Dellums. "Africa is where we must draw the line in the sand if we are to
      curtail an impending global catastrophe."
       
      Statistics report that AIDS is now the leading cause of death in Africa for adults between ages 15
      to 49. Most infected Africans do not know they have the disease and life expectancy has been reduced
      by 20 years. "It's a war we can win. Education, prevention and treatment will stop the pandemic,"
      remarked Mel Foote, president and CEO of CFA.
       
      In the face of this tragedy, the Coalition has identified a window of opportunity. The weapons
      that will halt the death march of HIV/AIDS will catapult the continent toward a bright and stable future,
      according to the Coalition Facilitator Ron Walters. Access to health care; transparent and accountable
      governance; improved infrastructure; grassroots involvement; community education; strengthened social
      services and dependable communications systems will defeat the disease and form the foundation for
      Africa's future.
       
      CFA will continue this focus at its Town Hall Meeting U.S. Policy and Africa's Promise: The
      Global Challenge of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic being held at the Biltmore Hotel on August 15th in
      conjunction with the Democratic National Convention.
       
      CFA was founded in 1990 by concerned U.S. citizens, Africanists and Africa-focused
      organizations committed to the progress and empowerment of Africa and African people. CFA educates
      the public and U.S. policy makers about Africa and fosters collaboration among a broad-based
      coalition of American, African and international organizations.
       
      (end)
       
      *****
      Testimony to the 2000 Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee
      The Honorable Ronald V. Dellums, Chair, Constituency for Africa; Convener, Coalition for U.S.
      Policy to Conquer HIV/AIDS in Africa; Chair, President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
      Presented Thursday, July 6, 2000, University of Missouri at St. Louis
       
      Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you for this opportunity. I am charged with the monumental task of
      persuading you, in just 5 minutes, to steer the political might and the moral authority of the Democratic
      Party toward a challenge unlike any it has faced. Yet I approach you with the confidence that our collective
      concern for humanity and our natural instinct for survival will drive you to the same conclusion I reached. I
      hope my argument is compelling, because at the end, I will ask for your unequivocal commitment to the
      war against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.
       
      Let me paint the picture. Envision if you will, 7000 families, every single day, laying to rest a loved
      one who died a painful death from AIDS, a disease that was probably undiagnosed and untreated, an
      enemy they could not see and probably could not understand. By the time I complete my presentation,
      another 24 Africans will have lost their fight with AIDS, and of those, at least half are likely to be children.
      The future is something many African children will never see. And of those who survive, a family is
      something they may not know. In a few years, there will be 40 million AIDS orphans.
       
      Indeed, this picture is sobering. Life expectancy in some African countries has been reduced by 20
      years. Ninety-five percent of Africans infected with AIDS live in abject poverty without access to HIV/AIDS
      information, education, prevention techniques, diagnosis or treatment. Most infected Africans do not even
      know they have the disease. The African workforce from laborers to professionals is being decimated
      by AIDS. Governmental, educational and economic systems are crumbling. And the death rate is
      increasing.
       
      I am aware of the often unspoken thought that we need to deal with the HIV/AIDS problem here
      before we worry about someone thousands of miles away. " To that, I respond "yes ... but."
      Yes, there is a domestic HIV/AIDS problem. The rate of infection is on the rise once more,
      especially among African Americans and other minorities. AIDS is now the leading cause of death among
      African Americans between 25 and 44. Yes, I support the allocation of the necessary resources to confront
      HIV/AIDS here at home. I applaud and support the Congressional Black Caucus' comprehensive HIV/AIDS
      initiative. And yes, I encourage all policy makers, government, nonprofits, private industry and the faith-
      based community to tackle the issue. For any of us to do anything less would be irresponsible. Others will
      make the case for domestic HIV/AIDS programs and please count me as one of their supporters and
      advocates.
       
      But, my friends, we are not faced with an "either-or" dilemma. It is not a "win-lose" proposition. As
      the wealthiest, most technologically advanced, most powerful nation in the world, we can and must do
      both. Today I carry the torch for Africa. HIV/AIDS in Africa can not be discounted as someone else's
      problem. Waging war against the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a moral imperative. It is the right thing to do; it is
      in our self-interest; it is a strategic necessity.
       
      The fact is HIV/AIDS does not respect borders, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, education or
      income levels. It is an equal opportunity disease that will seek host after host after host. And, with the
      increasingly close and intimate interaction of people traveling the globe for business, adventure,
      recreation, education and cultural experiences, there will soon be no barrier to its spread. We are joined at
      the hip with the rest of the world. The only question now is how to work together to solve our collective
      crisis.
       
      If we allow the pandemic to tighten its choke-hold on Africa, it will soon strangle us all. If it goes
      unchecked, the pandemic will reshape the future of the world, including the United States. HIV/AIDS is
      already spreading at an increasing rate in Asia, Eastern Europe and India. If we do not pursue an all out
      offensive now, we will lose. Africa is where we must draw a line in the sand.
       
      Our Coalition of 30+ organizations does not stand alone in its call for a strong U.S. policy to
      conquer the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. A red flag is being waved by a wide array of U.S. policy
      makers. President Clinton and Vice President Gore endorse such a policy. Donna Shalala, Secretary of the
      Department of Health and Human Services, calls it a threat to national security. Richard Holbrooke, the
      U.S. Representative to the United Nations, agreed and offered a chilling assessment when he said '... of all
      the problems we face in the world today, I really think (AIDS) is the most important. It will wreck the
      economics of Africa and you can't erect a wall around Africa and commit continental triage, it won't work.'
       
      In spite of the picture I've painted, the situation is not hopeless, by any means. In the face of this
      tragedy, we have a window of opportunity. The weapons that will halt the death march of HIV/AIDS will
      catapult the continent toward a bright and stable future. Access to health care; transparent and
      accountable governance; improved infrastructure; grassroots involvement; community education;
      strengthened social services and dependable communications systems will defeat the disease and form the
      foundation for Africa's future. Ironically, this statement also applies to the domestic situation. Defeating the
      pandemic in Africa will stabilize a continent of proud people, the birth place of human kind, a reservoir of
      rich culture and history. We can help Africa reach its promise if we have the will and assert the leadership.
      The pandemic is in the relatively early stages. If we stand with our international partners to face   
      down HIV/AIDS in Africa, we will see a world victory. If we help transform Africa into a model of prosperity
      as we did Europe and Japan after World War II, we will be able to stand proud among the nations of the
      world. If we vest the same energy, determination, resources and commitment that we have shown Kosovo,
      the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe, we will be able to claim success.
       
      To the Democratic Party, my party, I ask that we dig deep, let our moral compass point the way and
      use our self-interest for motivation. Join us on the front line of the global war against HIV/AIDS in Africa.
      On behalf of the Coalition for U.S. Policy to Conquer HIV/AIDS in Africa, I proudly submit the
      "Africa Plank" for inclusion in the 2000 Democratic National Platform. I implore you to assert your
      visionary leadership and make history by adopting the "Africa Plank."
       
      We must put the Democratic Party squarely and aggressively on the side of confronting the
      HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. To do less is to abdicate our responsibility to the children of the world.
      Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for this opportunity.
      ***
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