Saturday, May 1, 2010

We Don't Have A Long, Long Time

I got to hear some AIDS activists from the past speak last Wednesday evening. They didn't dwell on their considerable accomplishments because there is still much to be done. They did give me a valuable glimpse into how they accomplished so much twenty years ago.

One spoke of being firm and doing what is right, rallying around a loved one and standing up for his rights.

Another spoke of needing to get our government off its governmental "butt" (his word, and a poignant one at that). Twenty years ago our government had been saying it was doing much, but it was lip service. It wasn't coming close to a meaningful commitment.

These were just-do-it people. They were articulate and clear twenty years ago and they still are today. They work using the energy of a controlled rage and a positive mission. They are not sheep. They know how to go off script.

I left that evening with a new fire for getting some things done for ALS. Our governmental butt is bigger than ever and we need to get some meaningful action for ALS.

Jeanne White Ginder and Sir Elton John had much to brag about yet they spoke only of the gift of Ryan White and the work that still needs to be done.

I learned one thing for sure -- the ALS cause needs more articulate and visible leaders on a common mission for meaningful results. Toss the scripts. Toss the celebrities lacking the rage. Toss the roadmaps. Think big. Think meaningful. Just do it.

p.s. For those who think that awareness is not critical to advocacy, here are the words of Elton John in Sunday's Washington Post: "Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments."

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