Posts Tagged ‘Healthcare’
The Republican National Convention came to a close last week and to share some insight on what was said, what was not said, and everything in between, I was joined on my show “Knowledge is Power” on Power 106 for a roundtable discussion by:
Derrick Ashong – social media correspondent for BET, @ashong
Yarel Ramos - Mun2 correspondent, @yarel_ramos
Unai Montes Irueste – contributing writer for Politic365 @unaimi
By far, one of the best political conversations I’ve ever hosted as we dived into issues that concern minority communities and young voters, I asked the question: has the Republican party been hijacked by extremist to the point where minorities feel uncomfortable and not invited?
Does the rising star of Florida U.S Senator Marco Rubio represent the values of Latino voters? What would the U.S look like with Mitt Romeny as President?
All this and so much more, topics like education, immigration, healthcare and jobs were at the forefront of the conversation.
What are the issues that YOU are most passionate about? Does the Republican Party represent your values?
Listen to the show and let me know…
Keenan Cahill aka BeenerKeeKee19952 is that kid on YouTube that lip syncs to all the popular songs. (Why didn’t I think of that?!) His most popular videos, Katie Perry’s “Teenage Dream” (30m+ views) and 50 Cent’s “Down on Me” (22m+ views) are on my favorite list. He is uninhibited, his love for music and gag is obvious, and frankly, I just love him.
But now, BeenerKeeKee19952 is one of my favorite people in the world for another reason: he is a fighter. WGN 9 Chicago featured Keenan and his unique health condition known as Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome or mucopolysaccharidosis type VI (MPS VI) – a genetic disorder that affects 1 in every 500k individuals and has no cure. His drug treatment is one of the most expensive at $350,000 a year. He’s undergone knee, brain stem surgery, lip, hand, and is scheduled for more.
All I can hope is that his YouTube videos generate enough income for him to be able to at least partially pay for his medication if he is not fully covered.
I can only imagine what it’s like to have to live a life like Keenan, and I thank my lucky stars for being healthy. For all those hateful people who make fun of his looks and post offensive comments… I just feel sorry that despite you being healthy, you have very little soul and heart – or talent for that matter.
Check out WGN’s story below and Keenan’s videos. Go head Keenan! Get down! Can you do a “Amor Prohibido” by Selena? Thanks!
My article from The Huffington Post.
As the fight for LGBT equality rails on in Washington with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and in California with its Prop 8 trial, a group of artists and activists in Los Angeles have taken it into their own hands to move the California agenda forward. Taking the lead from the Manifest Hope campaign, which was largely spearheaded by the work of Shepard Fairy and his self described art-pusher Yosi Sergant, the Manifest Equality art exhibit is a much anticipated “welcome home” for Sergant.
After his very public separation from the National Endowment of the Arts, Sergant only recently confessed that while his work on the campaign left him rejoicing, it also left him feeling like he hadn’t done enough to help the No on Prop 8 campaign in California.
The Manifest Equality Gallery in Hollywood, set to run from Wednesday March 3 to Sunday March 7, certainly marks a shift. In what used to be an old abandoned Big Lots, Sergant, along with his partners in art-pushing Jennifer Gross and Apple Via, unveiled to the public an array of art focused on a call-to-action aimed at changing public perception towards political reform on a local, state and national level.
Steve Alfaro, a Los Angeles artist whose piece sold before opening night and who also showcased work in DC for Manifest Hope, was compelled to submit a piece because of a female friend who once confessed she didn’t feel she belonged because of her sexual orientation.
“No one should be made to feel that way,” Alfaro stated as he made the comparison that the Latino community is facing similar struggles in efforts to obtain comprehensive immigration reform, “There are people out there, and in DC that want to make us feel different, when we are not – we are all humans, we are all created equal.”
If Los Angeles is to set the stage for change, perhaps LAPD Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz, who attended as a guest and private citizen, summed it up best, “I’ve been married for 33 years, if a couple of guys or a couple of girls want to get married, how does that in any way affect me? Asking simply to be treated like everyone else – how can anyone argue against that?”
Cleve Jones, a human rights activist who was recently portrayed in the movie Milk by Emile Hirsch, was amongst the speakers and invited guests of event sponsors, the Courage Campaign for the special Tuesday private viewing.
“There was a time in my life when I felt I could not go further” Jones began telling the crowd of hundreds, “It was 1987 and almost everyone that I knew was either dead or dying from HIV. My heart was filled with hatred and fear and despair. Hatred for the straight world and the politicians who were allowing HIV to kill relentlessly without responding, fear for what was going to happen to me, and despair that the world would never wake up in time to do anything about it all.”
Amongst those thoughts, Jones created the Aids Memorial Quilt, to celebrate, honor and remember the life of those who died of Aids.
As he recalled, in the late 1970′s, he was young, white, and gay in the Castro District of San Francisco, but through this art, the quilt reached people all over the nation who longed to be connected as they mourned their loved ones.
Filled with the exhilaration, passion and stage presence only a true organizer possesses, Jones told the moving story of an African American woman in her late 70′s who cared for her son until his death from AIDS, and who alone, with her grief, took a Greyhound bus from Kentucky to San Francisco to add a piece of cloth to the quilt.
“This is my son,” she said as she gripped a piece of cloth in her hands.
At Manifest Equality, these stories hang at every wall and every corner. Art spins in the music, it’s performed by artists, and it’s retold through activating the human memory and remembering the struggles for justice and the lives it’s claimed. From freedom rides, to sit-ins, to twitter and facebook, organizing community is at the core.
This call-to-action is perhaps what the Obama Generation needs to reactivate a base that Sergant was very much a part of.
“Those who were excited by the Obama campaign will get involved again; make calls, knock on doors, register to vote, hold elected officials accountable” reads a Facebook message from Unai Montes-Irueste, a community organizer and friend of Sergant’s.
“HOPE and CHANGE was not about one man, it was about our causes, our passions, and our belief that the American Dream is not dead. This nation is as much mine as yours, and my name, my skin color, my gender, my religion, my accent, my sexuality cannot subtract from this fact. Either there is equal protection under the law, and consenting adults can marry one another, serve openly in the military, visit one another in the hospital, and leave their worldly possessions to one another, or the Constitution is worth no more than it was when some were counted as three-fifths human.”
Manifest Equality is not just about art. It’s about being civically engaged Americans who have a direct say in the policy that affects our lives. It’s about accountability, progress and believing that America’s future is brighter than its past.
As Jones so eloquently stated, “We are gay and straight together, we are fighting for LGBT equality – but we stand as part of a broader, deeper, larger struggle across this planet…for all of us.”
“Why is Twitter trending Aids?” read a twitter status just a few minutes ago.
“Why are some some twitter status red?” read another.
The answer is simple, the Twitter world cares about World Aids Day.
I like how social media informs people. Twitter played a huge role in getting information out to the world during the #Iranianelections. Some have argued that the we cant fully vet all the status updates because they weren’t “journalistic” or from “reliable resources” – whatever THAT means.
I am fully embracing of how people seem to “care” online via their status’. Sharing links on HIV/Aids stories, sharing locations as to where people can get tested, Retweeting things they think others may find useful. The Red Campaign has made a deal w/ Twitter in which using #red on a tweet causes the color to change to a dark red. They are also encouraging people to change their profile pictures on Facebook to show solidarity towards the fight to help the Aids epidemic in Africa.
Can we measure the results? Maybe on the inside Facebook can see how many people change their profile pictures, or Twitter can add up how many people turn their status’ red… but how can we measure the social impact? Will Nike see more sales because they are also joining the movement with their “Lace Up Saves Lives” campaign in which shoe lace profits help the cause?
I’ve always been curious about corporations that like to do social responsibility work. The Facebook application has a video that states that it only costs 40cents a day to help someone obtain the medication they need to live with HIV in Africa. 40 cents a day.
This past weekend, I interviewed a young man living with AIDS, he told me his medication cost him $3,000 a month. Another young woman who I interviewed said she used her student loan money at the age of 19 to pay for her brothers Aids medication. He didnt have health insurance, and died before she returned for her sophomore year.
While Twitter, Facebook, and corporations try to do do good and just things, I cant help but think that our reality is much more than just a Twitter status. I cant help but feel that we need to do more to educate the American public that Aids is not an “Africa” disease.
I wonder when we will see news stories about people living with HIV and Aids here in the United States, and how its considered a “pre-existing condition” in which people can’t get access to healthcare.
Which really, makes me question the status of news pundits, tv programing or print stories that seem to want to call Obama’s healthcare reform a failure, rather than really tackle the issue.
I look at countries like Brazil and Thailand who have already broken pharmaceutical patents to distribute cheap and affordable HIV and Aids medication to their people, while, we, the Americans, want to feel good about our giving and awareness with brand names.
Sigh. Sometimes I think we really are doomed for being so ignorant.
#red #hcr #Aids