Dispatches from the Field: An Unlikely World AIDS Day Coalition

It’s all over the news, the impending Fiscal Cliff, and we’ve come to you asking for your voices in this important time. We as ONE members are working hard so that the very small portion of the budget that goes to the life-saving programs we advocate for doesn’t get indiscriminately cut as we try to solve our fiscal challenges. Real lives are at risk.

To protect these programs we are pulling out every tool in our toolbox, and with the help of ONE volunteers like you, we’ve been engaging with community leaders around the country to sign-on to letters to Congress this World AIDS Day. These letters urge Members of Congress to protect funding for key, proven programs in the fight against HIV/AIDS, PEPFAR and The Global Fund, along with protecting programs that fight childhood diseases and hunger by preserving the International Affairs account.

Across the country, ONE members approached influential members of their communities of all backgrounds, including local elected officials, business leaders, the faith community, nonprofit leaders, and even the fire chief in the small town of Hazard, Kentucky, and rallied them to use their voices to protect these important programs. To be effective advocates we need to show our elected officials that their constituents of all stripes, be it a former Governor or their local realtor, are coming together around these issues. It’s in building these coalitions of the unusual suspects, along with our passion for the fight against extreme poverty, that we as ONE members have proven so effective in our advocacy.

We’ve delivered these letters over the past week to Members of Congress, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers among others, and even have a few more letters to be delivered soon!

In these challenging times in Washington, it is important that we as ONE members rally in every way we can to protect these programs, and World AIDS Day was an important time to recommit to this fight. We are on the cusp of the Beginning of the End of AIDS, but we can’t turn back now, or the incredible progress we’ve made will be lost.

Charlie Harris, Field Operations Manager, ONE

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