Sunday, March 25, 2012

Health Education Needs Your Support!


There are several bills that need your support to assure they are enacted into law, and that are critical to the health of our children and community:

House Bill 3027 - The Sexual Health Education Bill
This bill aims to modernize Illinois’ sex education law and create a standard for existing sexual health education courses for students in grades 6-12. This education empowers teens with the best prevention tools. Sexual health curricula must be updated and based on the latest scientific information.  HB 3027 would require existing sex ed programs to teach complete, medically accurate, and developmentally and age-appropriate content.

The bill gives school districts the flexibility to choose among numerous eligible curricula, and curricula are required to stress abstinence as the only 100% ensured method of avoiding unintended pregnancy, STDs and HIV/AIDS, but also teach about contraceptive options as a means of prevention. Parents can opt to remove their children from any sex ed class for any reason.

Click Here to sign a petition in support of this bill.

Real Education of Healthy Youth Act of 2011
This is a federal bill that would end funding of the "Abstinence until Marriage" program and redirect the funding to the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), a state grant funding stream. Currently the government is spending $50M a year on this program even though the 10-year study of the program indicated it had no impact on teen behavior. In contrast, PREP has been scientifically evaluated to have a measurable impact.

Click Here to  address a message to your representation in Washington and encourage the support this legislation.

Illinois is Planning to Cut HIV Prevention Funding by 50%!

Governor Pat Quinn and the General Assembly are considering cutting state funding for HIV programs by $4 million, which will a lower state funding for HIV prevention, housing, corrections, minority health, perinatal HIV, and harm reduction programs by 50%.

Based on public health data, 108 additional people could become infected with HIV, resulting in over $40 million in lifetime medical costs. Nearly 1,000 HIV-positive persons would lose access to housing and vital supportive services. We estimate that this reduction will actually increase costs to Illinois by $6.9 million next fiscal year.

Click Here to make your voice heard and contact your elected officials now!

Repeal HIV Discrimination Act

Criminal transmission of HIV laws demonize people with HIV and increase stigma.  When someone is charged with criminal transmission of HIV, their HIV-positive status is disclosed to the community, and often the world, through demonizing press coverage.  Severe sentences perpetuate misconceptions that people with HIV are highly infectious, toxic, and dangerous. Criminal transmission of HIV laws can lead individuals to avoid HIV testing and treatment because they fear being tarred with the same brush.

The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act (HR 3053) would require the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to update guidelines and assist states in changing discriminatory criminalization policies against people living with HIV/AIDS.  Please tell your Congressional representative to co-sponsor this critical piece of legislation.

Click Hear to send a message to your legislative representative.

Thank you for taking a stand on health education and non-discriminatory practices.

Trinity UCC
HIV/AIDS Ministry

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Howard Morgan's Fight Should Be Everyones Fight!

Many, but not enough, have heard of the travesty of justice that is represented by the Howard Morgan shooting. First a few facts:

  • Howard Morgan is a former Chicago Police Officer, and following that career, spent 13 years as a Railroad Police Officer.
  • On February 21, 2005, Mr. Morgan was forced from his vehicle and shot by police officers 28 times, 21 of those shots were into his back . . . miraculously he survived.
  • As unbelievable as it may seem, he was charged with four counts of attempted murder, along with other firearm charges (he was a police officer and was carrying a weapon legally).
  • In 2007, he was acquitted of 3 charges and the jury was hung on the remaining counts; the judge declared a mistrial.
  • With evidence and a witness in his favor, and the appearance of double jeopardy, he was tried on the remaining charges this year and is currently awaiting sentencing:
    • The state could only produce 3 of 25 bullets removed from his body - the other bullets could have proven he was shot with his own gun
    • He was never tested for gun residue to confirm he fired his weapon
    • The state never produced the bullet proof vest the office claimed had been shot into
If Howard Morgan had died of his many gunshot wounds this would have been just one more case that got sweep away from the public's vision. The fact that he lived to tell the story should serve as a wake-up call to us all. We should demand justice for Brother Morgan, as well as for ourselves. We should demand Howard Morgan's release, while also demanding our police live up the slogan of "To Serve and Protect." It's time for our police to work with our communities to remove the few bad apples that give them all a bad reputation and that generates the haze of distrust that reduces citizen/police cooperation to near zero.

It is in the interest of us all to bring true justice to bear on this case. To cure the larger issue is certainly going to take time and resources. To begin, however, please click here to go the the Free Howard Morgan website and sign his petition demanding justice.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."  
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

Daryle Brown
Trinity UCC Justice Watch Team