Monday, November 07, 2005

HIV Positive and Hurricane Katrina

Ok, let’s imagine you are a HIV patient in New Orleans and you could not afford to leave before Katrina struck. Let’s also imagine that you are African-American. Let’s further imagine that you were sitting out in front of the cameras of CNN as they drove by never stopping. Now politicians are calling you poor blacks, the former first lady Barbara Bush says that you were poor anyway, and now you are not allowed to gain entry to a shelter. You are weak because of your condition, you are hungry and you are thirsty. You sit and watch people panic and loot the buildings around you and you wonder how you will get your medicine. You try to ask a national guardsman about getting your medicine and he tells you to loot a pharmacy.
Now it is a week into the struggle and you are told you will be moved to Houston, Texas. You board the bus shaky and sick. You get to the shelter and you cannot make your way to the food they have for you because there are news cameras and crews stringing their cords all over the floor, the news people are looking for people to interview and bumping into you. You’re still sick.
While you are still in Houston the landlord who discriminated against you because of your condition has moved what possessions you had out of your apartment so he can rent it to someone else. You finally get some help from someone in the Red Cross but you still do not have a place to stay and the shelter is closing because of a sports event or convention. The workers in Houston at the shelter are griping about the cleanup and you are so tired of it all you snap back at them. All you know is that you are an American citizen and the days of Civil Rights were a long time ago, then you hear that Rosa Parks has died.

- Chris Mansel

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