Civil Rights & AIDS Activists Hold ‘Take it Down!’ Confederate Flag Protest in Jackson, MS

In Advocacy, News by AHF

AHF is joining activists from the local NAACP chapter in Jackson as well as from Friends of Fallen Riders, a local biker organization that does community work to host a State House protest urging Mississippi—the only state that includes the Confederate battle emblem—to remove the flag emblem.

As debate unfolds around the public display of the Confederate flag, AHF—which has free HIV/AIDS treatment clinics in nearly half of the former Confederate States—examined current HIV incidence in the US and found a striking overlap of HIV case rates within Southern states of the former Confederacy.

JACKSON, MS (August 11, 2015) As debate continues to unfold around the public display of the Confederate flag, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which has free HIV/AIDS treatment clinics in nearly half of the former Confederate States, is joining activists from the local NAACP chapter in Jackson, Mississippi as well as from Friends of Fallen Riders, a local biker organization that does community work, to host a State House protest Wednesday, August 12th in Jackson urging Mississippi—the only state that includes the Confederate battle emblem—to remove the emblem from the state flag.

What:

CONFEDERATE FLAG PROTEST—‘Take it Down!’—AIDS & civil rights activists to host protest urging Mississippi state officials to remove the Confederate flag emblem from the state flag at the Jackson State Capitol Building.

When:

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12th   5:00pm to 6:30pm CST

Where:

Jackson State Capitol Building400 High St. Jackson, MS 39201
(Fronting Mississippi St. between N. President and N. West Streets)

Who:
Activists from:

  • NAACP Chapter in Jackson, MS
  • Friends of Fallen Riders, a local biker organization that does community service work in the city and surrounding areas
  • AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

CONTACTS:

MS—Jessica Reinhart, +1.323.203.6146 mobile [email protected]
CA—Ged Kenslea +1.323.791.5526 mobile or +1.323.308.1833 work [email protected]shealth.org

“In June, as debate around the public display of the Confederate flag was reaching crescendo, AHF examined current HIV incidence in regions of the US and found a striking overlap: the highest HIV case rates in the US were within many of the Southern states of the former Confederacy,” said Jessica Reinhart, Associate Director of Community outreach for AHF. “A side-by-side comparison of a CDC map detailing the geographic regions with the highest rates of HIV in the United States as of 2013 with a map of the thirteen states of the Confederacy shows a strong correlation. This overlap suggests that long-documented, widespread public health disparities continue to plague the Southeast, and AHF and others need to mobilize on all fronts and work together as a community to address these disparities in health care.”

Indeed, while New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has already pointed out that only one former member of the Confederacy has expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income people under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the concentration of today’s HIV/AIDS epidemic closely follows the map of the Confederate States of the United States as it stood in 1861, when the Battle of Fort Sumter in South Carolina ignited the Civil War. Given that the Census Bureau has reported that over half (57%) of the black American population is concentrated in the southern states and that black Americans are 55% more likely to be uninsured than white Americans, the lack of equal access to quality medical care—including routine HIV testing and medical treatment—underscore the urgent need for coordinated action to address these enduring health disparities and fight the AIDS epidemic sweeping through minority communities in the South.

Over the past two years, AHF has also been hosting a series of ‘AIDS is a Civil Rights Issue’ town halls around the country to highlight health disparities impacting African American communities, particularly with regard to HIV/AIDS. The campaign first launched in February 2014 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Currently African Americans account for 44% of all people with HIV/AIDS in the United States, yet only account for 12% of the population.

AHF has free HIV/AIDS treatment clinics and testing and outreach programs in six former states of the Confederacy: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.

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