A bunch of ACT UP Philly members were in DC last week for AIDSWatch, a big lobbying day for people living with HIV/AIDS, sponsored by the National Association for People With AIDS. Stay tuned for further coverage!
Member Waheedah Shabazz-El passed along that she met Suzan Collins, Philadelphian who was down in DC lobbying with the National Center for Transgender Equality. The bill Ms. Collins was lobbying for just passed the House!
The bill is the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H. R. 1913), which would add sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to the categories included in existing federal hate crimes law and would allow local governments who are unable or unwilling to address hate crimes to receive assistance from the federal government. Meaning that people who are stigmatized by their local community law enforcement now are protected by the federal government, who will help prosecute crimes against them and send the message that everyone gets equal protection under the law no matter where they live.
Since this bill specifically mentions crimes against people based on having a disability, it protects people who are targeted for their HIV status. And of course any time we fight discrimination associated with gender, sexuality, race, class, etc. we are fighting the stigma and injustice that help spread AIDS.
So take a moment to fight AIDS today, by calling your senator and telling them to vote for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.