For HIV/AIDS patients, importance of human touch can’t be overlooked
I am one of the health promoters at Prevention and Access to Care and Treatment (PACT), the group mentioned in Mai-Anh Hoang’s recent story (“Dorchester foot soldiers fight HIV with house calls,” March 27, 2008). As the story communicated, we take great pride in extending an element of human touch to our fellow neighbors and family members who are living with HIV/AIDS but who unfortunately continue to feel isolated due to a deeply embedded social stigma. We ask all of the Banner’s readers to join us in eradicating the debilitating stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, which is slowly but surely decimating the lives of our loved ones.
More real interaction needed to make future civic summits successful
As a delegate to the recent first-ever Boston Civic Summit, I was disappointed in the way that it was run. Neighborhood leaders and activists should have chaired the conference instead of the city’s political leaders. I had hoped to network with other community activists from around the city, but the conference didn’t give enough opportunity for that to happen. We were rushed around attending workshops, which, once again, should have been run by neighborhood folks who know their urban territories.
I had hoped to see a more diverse group of neighborhood folk discussing issues affecting neighborhood life — issues like crime, violence, gangs, poverty, homelessness, hopelessness, frustration, health care, housing, public schools and a general debate on the quality of life for all of us who share one city.
Instead, we got new terms to add to our vocabulary, such as “civic engagement,” “social capital” and the difference between “bonding” and “bridging.” Also, don’t forget the PowerPoint presentation during our dinner. Real change for the better comes not from such buzzwords, but from neighborhood people caring about their neighborhood.
Whether you’re white, African American, Asian, Latino, man, woman, gay or lesbian, the Civic Summit needed less “civic engagement” and more real interaction. This year’s event was a good starting point, but before the next one, organizers need to ensure that neighborhood people run the show. Folks who care about healthy neighborhoods where people are safe, where crime is low, where children can play and where people can take pride. The pols can’t do that. Only community activists pushing pols can accomplish that neighborhood agenda.