Welcome to the first 2010 issue of From the Frontlines, the newsletter for friends and supporters of Bread & Roses Community Fund. As you’ll read in these pages, your investment in Bread & Roses is being put to work every day to advance truly meaningful social change. I ’m especially excited to share a recent significant victory for ACT UP, a long-time Bread & Roses grantee that is very near and dear to me.
I joined ACT UP when I was a student at Temple University. ACT UP radicalized me and taught me basic community organizing skills that I still use today. Countless local social change leaders have been, or are now, a part of ACT UP too; it is truly an institution in the Delaware Valley for activists.
It’s because of my experience in ACT UP that I went on to become the director of Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP), the job I held for six years before coming to Bread & Roses. PPP provides free needle exchange to drug users and transgender hormone users.
Syringe access is the most effective way to prevent HIV among injection drug users. But federal funds had been denied to needle exchange programs for more than 20 years. ACT UP organized protests, lobby visits, actions and more to repeal this ban for almost as long a s it was in place. Following the arrest of 24 ACT UP members last summer, years of grassroots organizing paid off: Congress and President Obama lifted the ban on federal funding for needle exchange. Now, literally thousands of new HIV infections will be prevented because of this outstanding activism.
I couldn’t be prouder of the part you and Bread & Roses played in this important victory with our decades of support for ACT UP.
Standing behind organizations like ACT UP is what the community of Bread & Roses supporters does. Together we’re empowering the people and organizations that bring real change to our communities. Thank you for your support.