What is C2EA and what do we do?

The Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA) is a diverse, exciting coalition of people living with HIV & AIDS, their advocates and their loved ones. Together, we're demanding that our leaders exert the political will to stop the epidemic, in the U.S. and abroad, once and for all.

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By Christine Rodriguez

Yesterday afternoon on the heels of World AIDS Day, nearly 100 activists rallied outside the John A. Wilson Building in downtown Washington, DC, brought together by the DC Community Coalition, Mary’s Center, The Women’s Collective, Housing Works, and DC Fights Back. They called on Mayor Vincent Gray and his recently created HIV/AIDS Commission to provide our local community with one cohesive, comprehensive, and collaborative city-wide plan to address the District’s epidemic.

Speakers at the rally highlighted the importance of a single strategy, built in partnership with the community, that reaches beyond the scope of the Department of Health’s limited capacity to address the complexities of HIV/AIDS. They called for the inclusion of services and perspectives of youth, women, the LGBT community, and Latinos; inclusion of harm reduction and other science-based interventions in prevention; affordable and available housing; bolstered education and employment; and effective re-entry services for returning citizens.

This last point struck a particularly timely chord. Yesterday also saw some intra-council drama. DC Council member Marion Berry (D-Ward 8) engaged in a seemingly awkward, if not typical, power struggle with Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) forcing a vote to put a new anti-discrimination bill before the full council Tuesday afternoon… fifteen minutes before Mendelson could kill it with his vote when he was officially sworn in. The bill is designed to prevent discrimination against ex-offenders by employers and housing providers, where the past offense is unrelated to the job or living situation.

The rally moved another handful of activits to further action – who went to speak with Mendelson, urging him to allow the bill to come to a vote today, trying to impress upon him the importance of this legislation for DC’s returning residents living with HIV/AIDS. He plans to block this and move forward his own version of the legislation, they were told. See it unfold at 3pm today.

Check out the photos and video (in short segments: 1, 2, 3, and 4) from the action!