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EAF Advocacy Trip: Update 1

Join AMSA Education & Advocacy Fellow Dr. Alison Case as she visits AMSA Chapters across the country! Alison has recently returned from her Midwest tour visiting AMSA chapters, rallying against global AIDS relief funding cuts, and offering advocacy workshops on meeting with elected officials.

 

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Last week Alison Case, the AMSA Education and Advocacy Fellow, helped to launch one of our new chapters, the Illinois Institute of Technology. They have a brand new AMSA chapter and she was lucky to be present at their first general meeting.

iitchapterphotoThey had a great turn-out and she was really impressed with how organized they were. The members were enthusiastic about many of our programming opportunities. The presentation the founding leaders prepared for general members had a whole slide on scholars programs, which was one of the primary reasons for her visit. They had given an intro before she even began to speak! They are also very excited to participate in the Fall Conference in Chicago as it is an easy drive for them! She then met with their President to see how the national office can support them as they start making their plans for the year.

IMG_20150903_210439202That evening they had preparation for the next day’s event outside of Senator Durbin and Kirk’s office to support restoring devastating funding cuts (specifically $300 million) to global AIDS (specifically the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)). She attached some photos– the collected chapters created a giant (wearable!) milk carton prop that said “Missing in global AIDS Action” and featured the senators faces.

This preparation and hard work resulted in a successful event!

AMSA students and also students from Partners in Health (PIH) Engage attended. AIDS Foundation Chicago also sponsored the event. Staff from both Senator’s offices came to the event and presented fairly bland statements about their bosses commitment to global AIDS funding.

The AMSA members continued to push them on the $300 million, to explain how important this time is, right now, to fund AIDS programs and how disappointed they were to find the senators missing in our push this summer. The members gave the staffers hand written and signed cards inviting the Senators to meet with AMSA and PIH Engage chapters of Chicago in person in October during the 10-18 recess.

Alison and the local chapters had sent out a press release earlier in the week. A photographer from AIDS Foundation of Chicago as well as a journalist from Windy City paper were at the event (Windy City released an article yesterday–check it out here!) So our giant carton got some press!

Overall a very solid and important first step. Alison will be following up with the senator’s’ staff to get them to make good on and ramp up their commitments (neither of the statements they delivered to us mention the $300 million).

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This week she heads to Iowa for bird-dog training in Des Moines and some events over the weekend. Then she will be off to Detroit, Cleveland, and Indianapolis for more chapter visits.

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