COOK COUNTY AIDS WARD EXPECTED TO CLOSE
by Karen Hawkins
Several community sources have indicated that Cook County Hospital is planning to close its AIDS ward July 1.
Read more story below....
Under the planned closure, AIDS patients would not be seen by HIV specialists and would be housed in regular wards.
The decision is rumored to be a financial one, not based on the hospital's AIDS caseload, which has consistently been high.
Advocates have raised concerns about what the decision means for AIDS patients served by County, many of whom are hospitalized because they've grown resistant to current drug therapies or never got the proper care.
Originally started by Dr. Ron Sable and Dr. Renslow Sherer as the Sable/Sherer Clinic, the AIDS ward served a vital need for people with HIV and AIDS in Chicago.
Hospital officials could not be reached by presstime.
HIV Project targets young Black men
Media coverage of the recent shelving of House Bill 101 has been marked by two conflicting images: Of GLBT lobbyists and supporters calling the move a good thing, and of four GLBT protesters angrily storming the Senate floor, demanding that the bill be called.
Protesters at the day's demonstrations are claiming victory for a direct action well done, while one lobbyist is crying foul for months of work being undermined.
House Bill 101 would add sexual orientation to the state's Human Rights Act. After narrowly passing the House in late March, the bill landed in the Senate Executive Committee, where Senate sponsor John Cullerton pulled it from consideration May 9, citing a lack of needed votes. On May 12, the bill has was sent back to the Senate Rules Committee.
After the announcement was made that the bill wouldn't be called for a vote on May 9, four members of the Champaign-Urbana-based 85% Coalition walked on to the committee floor chanting, "We're your daughters, we're your sons/Pass House Bill 101." They were arrested for criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.
Since their arrests, they have denied accusations that their direct-action work is doing more harm than good.
"We have agreed to disagree," said Kimberly Kranich, co-founder of the Coalition, about GLBT lobbying group Equality Illinois. "We have the same goal. Our tactics are just different. ... I do believe that you do need both external and internal pressure."
"I would continue to support them," she added.
"I don't agree with them ( lobbyists ) bashing us," said Coalition member Lori Serb, one of the four women arrested. "I think it's kind of a wide spectrum that's needed to make any kind of progress. ... You need all of those elements to get things to happen."
But Equality Illinois Political Director Rick Garcia had harsh words for the Coalition and its members.
"I wish they would stop lying about their respect," he said. "They have complete disregard and total disrespect for our work.
"If we are asking for it not to be called, what does it say when they go down and demand that it be called?"
Despite the conflict, the Coalition, whose members staged demonstrations at the statehouse every Wednesday in May, said it will continue its actions in the fall.
"We have to go back," said Coalition member Meg Miner. "At least we're trying—we're moving that mountain a little bit."
The name 85% Coalition is drawn from a University of Illinois-Springfield survey that claims that 85% of Illinois residents favor equal rights for gays and lesbians.
CABN's police brutality march set for Saturday
The Chicago Anti-Bashing Network is a main organizer in a citywide march against police brutality Saturday, June 2, noon at Touhy Park, on Clark Street just south of Jarvis. A similar march is being held in Cincinnati on the same day. More than 35 organizations have endorsed the event, including Queer to the Left and SANGAT.
CABN co-founder Andy Thayer said the focus is to draw attention to the refusal of the state's attorneys office to criminally prosecute police officers accused of brutality. The organization is currently working on behalf of three men who have accused police of anti-gay attacks. Call ( 773 ) 878-4781; CABNstopthehate.@aol.com.
HIV Project targets young Black men
The University of Illinois-Chicago Community Intervention Trial for Youth ( CITY ) Project has joined forces with several GLBT organizations on a new social marketing campaign targeted at increasing safe sex among young gay/bisexual African-American men.
The first phase of the campaign runs through July 2 and involves posters and info cards with positive images of young Black men and captions such as "Love Self First" and "I Don't Compromise—I Care About Me."
Phase two will feature information about HIV transmission, prevention and testing. Posters and cards will be distributed at various sites on the South and West sides, including bars, shelters, colleges and barbershops.
UIC has partnered with several agencies to develop a peer health advocate network and to sponsor social events, including: Horizons, Howard Brown Health Center, the Chicago Department of Public Health's office of Lesbian and Gay Health, Test Positive Aware Network and the Greater Chicago Committee.
Dave Pallone, a former Major League Baseball umpire, is the special guest at the 32nd annual Chicago Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade, Sunday, June 24.
A coalition of organizations will sponsor a forum entitled "What's Going On? LGBT People, the Death Penalty, and Police Brutality" at the Church of the Open Door June 19. Co-sponsors of the event include Amnesty, Chicago Black Lesbians and Gays, Affinity, Queer to the Left, the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network and the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago. The forum 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 5954 S. Albany.
The Association for Latin Men for Action is accepting nominations for its 2001 Leadership Awards, to be presented at the Noche de Gala Aug. 19. Call ( 773 ) 929-7688. The deadline for entries is June 15.
The much-anticipated lesbian film Nico and Dani plays at the Music Box Theatre starting June 15. It is a coming-of-age coming-out story.