The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Stulman (202) 546-7961

On April 15th, AIDS Activists Target Congressional Leaders with Nationwide Prayer Vigils

Our Tax Dollars Must Go to Fight AIDS


WHAT: On Tax Day, hundreds of grassroots
community leaders, faith groups and concerned citizens across the
country will
gather in prayer at the offices of key congressional leaders who are
responsible for the government's budget, and will call for their tax
dollars to
be directed at fighting AIDS. The activists will light candles in
memory of the
25 millions lives lost to the AIDS pandemic over the last 3 decades and
peacefully demonstrate in support of $2.7 billion in 2010 for the
Global Fund
to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, which is the US fair share.

WHO: Hundreds of grassroots AIDS
activists, community
leaders, advocacy organizations, faith groups and concerned citizens.

WHEN: Tax Day, Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

WHERE: Outside the offices of key legislators responsible for
how the US government spends money. The specific locations are:

San Francisco,
(Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi)
Chicago, Illinois (Congressman
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Representative Mark Kirk, Senator Richard Durbin)
White Plains, New York
(Representative Nita Lowey)
Iowa (Senator Tom Harkin)
Vermont (Senator Patrick Leahy)
Pennsylvania (Senator Arlen
Nevada (Senator Harry Reid)

WHY: In the 8 years of its existence, the
Global Fund
has saved an estimated 2.5 million lives through programs in 140
countries that provide mosquito nets, malaria drugs, TB drugs and HIV
and prevention services to millions of people around the world. The
Fund's tremendous success is threatened by a serious funding shortage
for the
2010 funding rounds. Two years ago, the Global Fund Board of Directors,
which the US government has a seat, voted to triple the size of the
Fund. Rich
countries challenged poor countries to deliver bigger, better and
grants. Poor countries responded, but funding to support all the high
grants has not followed. Of the $8 billion needed to fill each
grant for 2010, donors have pledged only $3 billion dollars. If this $5
funding gap is not resolved, the Global Fund will be forced to
drastically cut
existing and future grants to developing countries, jeopardizing the
health of
millions of poor people. The U.S. has a responsibility to ensure that
the Global
Fund, which has been an effective, multilateral vehicle to fight killer
diseases around the world, is adequately funded to continue with its
work. The U.S. must lead donor nations by contributing its fair share
to the
Global Fund, which is based on the size of the U.S. economy. For 2009
and 2010
funding the U.S.'s fair share comes to a total of $2.7 billion (1/3 of
the $8
billion in total need). Through these prayer vigils, activists will be
key members of the congressional appropriations committee to support
billion dollars to the Global Fund.

Africa Action is a national organization that works for political, economic and social justice in Africa. Through the provision of accessible information and analysis combined with the mobilization of public pressure we work to change the policies and policy-making processes of U.S. and multinational institutions toward Africa. The work of Africa Action is grounded in the history and purpose of its predecessor organizations, the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), The Africa Fund, and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), which have fought for freedom and justice in Africa since 1953. Continuing this tradition, Africa Action seeks to re-shape U.S. policy toward African countries.