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News: Advocacy

How telehealth services have made it easier for Milani to attend therapy

April 1, 2021

By Ella Shapiro  Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Milani Varela, 33, used to take the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) twice a week to a clinic where she attended individual and group therapy sessions. When her clinic closed to support social distancing, Milani's therapy sessions moved to Zoom. This let Milani sleep in later, save money on transportation and reduce her risk of exposure...
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It’s time to end racial inequities in responding to COVID-19

March 25, 2021

Over a year into the pandemic, equitable progress has not been made to address the racial disparities in health outcomes that have existed and been exacerbated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, systemic racism made Black, Indigenous and Latinx/e communities deeply vulnerable to increased risk of illness, and as a result, we have seen disproportionate numbers of deaths from COVID-19 complications...
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How telehealth services have provided relief for Jo

March 11, 2021

By Ella Shapiro  For 35-year-old Chicago-based community activist Jo MaMa, attending their doctor appointments used to be a nightmare. At the time, Jo wasn’t comfortable with their HIV status being public. When Jo went to the doctor in-person, they felt they ran the risk of seeing someone they knew and compromising their privacy. As a result, Jo would experience severe anxiety...
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Advocates and Legislators Introduce Bill to Decriminalize HIV in Illinois

February 24, 2021

Legislation was introduced in Springfield today to end criminal penalties against people living with HIV (PLWH), which serve only to stigmatize and discriminate against PLWH. Current Illinois law makes legal behavior – like consensual sex – illegal, and adds harsh penalties for ordinarily minor crimes such as sharing injection-drug equipment. Under current law, PLWH face the threat...
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HB 3653 and the path toward increased community safety

February 23, 2021

by Timothy Jackson, Director of Government Relations AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) applauds Illinois Governor JB Pritzker for signing House Bill 3653, the Illinois Criminal Justice Omnibus Bill —landmark legislation that brings significant criminal justice reforms to Illinois. These reforms include the end of cash bail, new police accountability standards, and new pretrial release...
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Proposed state budget misses the mark in addressing racial health disparities

February 22, 2021

2021 AFC State Budget Address Statement  Standing at the site of a former makeshift hospital on the Illinois State Fairgrounds used to treat those afflicted with the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker delivered an unconventional — and virtual — State of the State and Budget Address on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. Speaking in a room used to administer COVID-19...
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Organizations need to support newer advocates making community change

February 3, 2021

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published in conjunction with the Building Power Through Advocacy media training on January 29, 2020. By George M. Johnson Social media has allowed us the space to share important information in the form of a tweet and within minutes reach millions throughout the world. As it continues to grow as the leading force that is driving news...
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Queer Bronzeville: A Short History of Black Queer Chicago and AIDS Activism, 1920-1985

February 2, 2021

By Tristan Cabello Bronzeville is often thought of as one of Chicago’s most prominent, African-American neighborhoods, but it was also home to a vibrant, well-accepted queer culture that emerged in the 1920s. From State Street to Cottage Grove Avenue, along 43rd and 47th Street, Bronzeville’s commercialized and jazz-influenced urban culture offered African-American queers several...
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AFC program partners with online job platform RiseKit to expand resources for returning citizens

January 26, 2021

By Bailey Williams  Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, talks of record unemployment for the general U.S. population filled newspaper headlines and nightly newscasts. Alarm bells sound and talks of economic recovery continue, but not for everyone.   Almost two years before the pandemic, the Prison Policy Initiative found that the rate of unemployment for people...
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VICTORY! Judge Halts Implementation of Ban on Speech about Systemic Racism, Sexism, and Implicit Bias

January 20, 2021

“Judge Freeman saw this ban for what it is: An effort to quash the truth and sweep under the rug an honest and long overdue reckoning with sexism and structural racism in our society.”  (San Francisco, CA, December 23, 2020) – Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman issued a nationwide preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from...
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