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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Letters: A beef with McDonald's; Latinos and AIDS; Community and Alcohol
2008-10-22

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A beef with McDonald's

Dear Editor:

I am deeply saddened by McDonald's corporate decision to capitulate to the American Family Association ( AFA ) -sponsored boycott by ending sponsorship of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce ( GLCC ) in 2009, a GLBT-inclusive policy that benefited everyone and harmed no one.

Contrary to its claims, I find the AFA, and not GLCC, is undermining the moral foundation of our nation by promoting derision, exclusion and intolerance and fomenting hatred, all of which plant the seed of violence against a minority population that is marginalized and at-risk.

In July, when the AFA announced its boycott, chairman Donald Wildmon accused McDonald's of putting the weight of the family-friendly organization behind the 'homosexual agenda.' This was based upon a $20,000 corporate sponsorship of GLCC in 2008.

It is truly sad that McDonald's has surrendered its moral responsibility to lead and serve the community in response to these baseless and delusional threats of the AFA, which is still intent on misleading the public and playing the religious-conservative 'gay-agenda' wedge issue.

While this conduct is expected by the AFA, the corporate behavior of McDonald's in this matter is absolutely shameful, and should be rectified immediately.

I am hopeful that McDonald's will reinstate corporate sponsorship of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. I am also asking McDonald's and Ronald McDonald House Charities to demonstrate its commitment to education by funding a GLBT-student scholarship to eligible graduating U.S. high school seniors who face limited access to educational and career opportunities in their communities, similar in scope to other designated marginalized and underserved populations that McDonald's presently serve.

Bob Zuley, Chicago

Latinos and AIDS

At the Centers for Disease Control ( CDC ) , preventing HIV among Latinos is one of our highest priorities for fighting the epidemic. We commit approximately 20 percent of our HIV prevention funding each year to support a broad range of HIV prevention programs for Latinos. We're working to increase HIV testing rates; ensure that effective HIV prevention programs reach those who need them; and research and develop new programs to meet the specific needs of a multiethnic Latino community. We are also working with community leaders to develop a Hispanic/Latino plan of action to accelerate progress and significantly reduce the toll of HIV among Latinos across the country.

Every Latino can help break the cycle of HIV infection by getting tested as a first step toward prevention. CDC recommends that everyone aged 13 to 64 get tested for HIV so they can take steps to protect themselves and their partners. This is especially important for Latinos, who make up the largest share of people diagnosed with HIV late in the course of infection, when treatment is less effective.

Latinos can also help break the stigma that surrounds HIV by speaking openly and often about HIV with family and friends, and by supporting those living with the disease.

To find out more about HIV/AIDS and where you can receive a confidential HIV test, visit www.hivtest.org or call 800-CDC-INFO, a 24-hour hotline available in both English and Spanish. Also, please visit www.aids.gov .

Maria E. Alvarez

Hispanic/Latino Executive Committee,

Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, NCHHSTP, CDC

Bar none

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter that appeared in a recent edition of the Windy City Times, signed by Project CRYSP. My response should not be construed as challenging the good works or integrity of this organization.

I realize the location of this forum ( Sidetrack ) has caused some controversy within the GLBT community. On the other hand, the consequence of that controversy has been a much-needed dialogue process on the problem of alcohol abuse. I am somewhat confused with CRYSP's response: 'The decision to have the forum at a bar is part of our mission to meet the individual at the place they are—socially, psychologically and physically. Our primary focus was people who drink.' This is troubling to me because the billing for this forum that appeared in an earlier issue of Windy City Times indicated it was a forum about the connection between alcohol and the LGBT community.

There was no indication your target market was for drinkers only. Your letter to the editor is the first time I am hearing this after the fact. That would explain the unintended lack of hospitality for the recovering community and the underage youth of our community.

The culture of alcohol in our community has created a situation where persons are disposable in the name of profit margin. Alcoholism, like other addictions, is a disease that requires compassion and brutal honesty in order to confront an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, and a quiet sense of despair that rules the lives of so many alcoholics.

Joe Murray

Rainbow Sash Movement


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