6,000-Mile Walk for Equality comes to a Close in DC

276747_476112165758622_357255684_n

Carrying pictures of the faces and names of those whose lives have been cut short by the effects of TBLG inequality, dozens of marchers ascended on Lafayette Park this afternoon not only to issue the mandate for full equality but also to mark the end of a historic journey.

Since May 31, 2011, Alan Bounville has walked from Seattle, Washington, pushing a cart of his belongings. On the cart are two rainbow-colored signs that read, “Full Equality NOW!” He’s walked every step of the way, zigzagging from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, often over harsh terrain and in even harsher weather. Seattle, Washington, pushing a cart of his belongings. On the cart are two rainbow-colored signs that read, “Full Equality NOW!” He’s walked every step of the way, zigzagging from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, often over harsh terrain and in even harsher weather.

Walking across the country in a straight line essentially twice is one thing. Walking as an out queer person pushing a cart emblazoned with rainbow signs while sharing the demand for full equality based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation is quite another,” says Bounville when talking about the walk as a whole. “People stop me all the time to ask what I’m doing and why I’m walking. Many people are supportive. Some are downright discriminatory. I keep walking because I know that the more I share my truth, the more I humanize to others my demand to be treated equally by my government and my neighbors. When people who don’t support my demand look me in the eye, they walk away from me changed. Something always seems to shift in unsupportive people after I tell them why I’m walking and that I’m gay or queer.”

While walking, Bounville has held numerous candlelight vigils remembering people who were murdered or who have taken their own lives due to discrimination based on the victim’s perceived or actual gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Bounville also talks at religious services about his mission, facilitates social movement and art as activism workshops, and performs a solo interview theater-based play inspiring people to walk into their own light and true potential.

Dozens of Bounville’s friends and supporters, from all across the country, joined him in the final three miles of his journey. For many, like Duane Quintana from Chicago, the experience was bitter-sweet,”On the one hand it’s amazing to see the impact Alan’s walk has had on so many American’s lives,” Says Quintana, who walked two hundred miles with Bounville in Idaho. “On the other hand, it’s horrific to see the names and faces of those impacted by the darkness of hate and prejudice. Hopefully, this walk will inspire, not only our nation’s leaders, but also the thousands of people across the country who honked, waved or got the chance to hear Alan’s message. Intolerance isn’t so much about politics or religion as it is about realizing that every day people are dying because our country refuses to allow them the same rights, privileges and dignity that every American deserves.”

 For nearly two years I’ve been invited as an equal into hundreds of homes across this great land, “Says Bounville. “The walk ends at the People’s House, where transgender, bisexual, queer, lesbian, two spirit, intersex, and gay Americans are still not welcome as equals. The time for full equality is now.”

For more information visit www.intothelightwalk.com.

Watch the last day of Alan’s walk:

Advertisements

Sendoff Dinner To Be Held For a.l.p.h.a. Founder Duane Quintana

The public is invited to a “Good Luck and See You Later”  dinner and karaoke event for Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS ( a.l.p.h.a.) founder and soon to be former director, Duane Quintana.  The event will be held this Saturday, January 21st from 5:30-6:30 pm at Quintana’s favorite restaurant, Twin Dragon in Boise.

On December 15th 2011, Quintana  released a letter to the board, volunteers and supporters of the organization announcing his resignation as executive director.

Quintana, who is moving from Boise to his new home in Chicago later this month, began the organization  in 2003 as a way to bridge the gap between the testing, services and education offered by the various agencies working with HIV and AIDS in Idaho.

Under his direction over the past eight years, a.l.p.h.a. has become the largest volunteer HIV and AIDS prevention program in the state. Quintana has also been involved in several other issues and organizations over the years including  serving as a board member for the Community Center as well as founding the recent Boise Loves anti-bullying campaign.

The event is a no host dinner. Following dinner guests are invited to cross the street where there will be karaoke  at the Lucky Dog  starting at 7pm.

Those planning on attending the event are asked to RSVP by no later than Friday, January 20th. Please send an email to kavin.dehner@alphaidaho.org or by confirming on the Facebook event pages HERE and HERE.

Twin Dragon is located at 2200 W Fairview Ave, in Boise.

You can learn more about a.l.p.h.a. by clicking HERE.

New Beginnings: a.l.p.h.a. Searches for New Executive Director

In 2003, a 24-year-old man from Wendell, Idaho set out to bridge the gap between the testing, services and education offered by the various agencies working with HIV and AIDS in Idaho.

Eight years later the outcome of his vision, Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS (a.l.p.h.a.), has become Idaho’s largest HIV and AIDS organization. Under Duane Quintana’s leadership the group has grown from just a small group of friends passing out condoms to bar patrons in downtown Boise to two staffed office locations in Boise and Twin Falls offering free testing, education and support, as well as a thrift store and numerous outreach activities throughout the state.

It’s impossible to say how many lives Quintana has touched over the years, not only through a.l.p.h.a., but through his many other interests and activities as well.

As rewarding as watching the organization growth has been, Quintana, now 32, is ready to begin a new life of his own. On December 15th 2011, Quintana  released a letter to the board, volunteers and supporters of the organization announcing his resignation as executive director. “This opportunity has been a gift, a gift that has just kept giving over the last almost 9 years now and I have been honored and humbled by the role I got to play in this organization,” wrote Quintana.

A few days later, on December 21st, the organization’s advisory board announced that it had begun to search for a new Executive Director.

Quintana, who plans on moving from Boise to his new home in Chicago later this month, writes that he has “the utmost faith and confidence in the board, the community at large and all those involved in a.l.p.h.a. now and in the future to continue to help a.l.p.h.a. better understand and be what it needs to be to support and respond to those at risk of, infected and affected by HIV, AIDS and the issues that impact the people involved.”

a.l.p.h.a.’s volunteers and staff say thanks to the advisory board’s leadership, they don’t anticipate any immediate changes in the day-to-day operations of the organization.

A “Good Luck!” party for Quintana will be held at the Twin Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Boise on Saturday, January 21st starting at 5:30 pm with a karaoke party following immediately after across the street at the Lucky Dog Bar. The event is open to the public. (Click HERE For More Information.)

You can learn more about a.l.p.h.a.’s Executive Director position by CLICKING HERE. Hurry though, resumes and or applications should be submitted by Friday January 7th, 2011.

Click HERE to learn more about this amazing organization.

Watch: Two Short Films on Living With HIV and AIDS In Idaho

Chances are you know someone who has been either infected or affected by the HIV virus, maybe it’s a friend, an aunt an  uncle or a parent. The CDC estimates 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. One in five (20%) of those people are unaware of their infection.

If you’ve ever wondered what life is like for them take a few minutes to watch the following films. Educate yourself and your friends. Knowledge is power and in this case it just might save your life.

The first film, “I’m just Me, Just like You”, tells the story of living with HIV through throught the eyes of a.l.p.h.a.’s founder and director Duane Quintana.  As you’ll see, Quintana began life much like any other teenager. At the age of 18, he packed up and left Wendell, Idaho for the big city. At age 19, Duane was infected with HIV….

 

 

 

The second film, HIV: ID was produced last year by filmmaker Jason Wilder Evans as part of a bigger project documenting what it’s like to live with HIV and AIDS in America. According to the project’s website, “HIV: USA  – is a collaborative effort of several HIV+ people who gave their permission to share a very intimate part of their life. By ignoring stigma, HIV:USA sheds light on the reality of living with the virus that causes AIDS.  It gives hope and inspires others to come together in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to know one’s own status and to understand that if you are HIV positive – You are not alone…”

Watch the trailer here:

 

 

You can watch the full HIV: ID  film online at snagfilms.com by clicking HERE. It will also be shown at various locations as part of World AIDS Day events happening throughout the state.  You can find an event happening near you  by clicking HERE.

Getting to Zero: Idaho to Observe World AIDS Day 2011

Imagine living in a world without the threat of HIV and AIDS. That’s exactly what the international community is asking people to do this coming Thursday, December 1st.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 200 making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.

According to the (Red) Campaign, “Last year nearly half a million babies were born with HIV. By 2015, that number could be zero.”

It has been 23 years since the World Health Organization and the United Nations first declared December 1st as World AIDS Day. During that time much has been done to create awareness, save lives and slow the spread of the disease.

The founder and executive director of Idaho’s largest volunteer HIV and AIDS organization, a.l.p.h.a. (Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS), says he remains confident that prevention and education has played a big part in slowing the virus’ spread. For the past eight years, Duane Quintana along with countless volunteers have continued to push the organization’s motto of “Educate, Test and Support.”

Quintana says that model is making a difference. “Studies show that the faster you can get someone who has been infected with HIV tested the faster you can not only help that person prevent the spread of the virus, but you can also help the individual live and maintain a better quality of life as well.”

This year a.l.p.h.a., along with several other organizations, are asking Idahoans to not only take a few minutes to remember those lives who have been affected by HIV and AIDS, but to also get tested and brush up on their HIV and AIDS facts themselves.  World AIDS Day activities will be held across the state, including Moscow, Boise, Twin Falls, Nampa and Pocatello.

Here is a schedule of events:

Coeur d’Alene

Thursday, December 1st:

The North Idaho HIV Planning Group (NIHIVPG) and The North Idaho AIDS Coalition (NIAC) will host a World AIDS Day event on Thursday, December 1, 2011. The groups will offer free, confidential, 15 minute HIV testing and education from 10:00-1:00pm at the North Idaho College in the Student Union building. An evening public candle lighting vigil will be held at the Human Rights Education Institute from 6 – 7 pm. Advocacy groups around all of Idaho have committed to doing a candle light vigil at the same time around the state. All events are free and open to the public.

Moscow: 

Wednesday November 30th at 7:00 pm

Emmy award-winning AIDS activist, Rae Lewis-Thornton, will be visiting the University of Idaho campus to share her personal experience of living well with AIDS. Lewis-Thornton will discuss her journey through diagnosis, harsh medication regimes, and stigmas and stereotypes, to newer, better treatments to manage HIV/AIDS that lead to her diva-hood.   The event will be held in the at the U of I Student Union building Ballroom.  The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Heather Ebba Maib at lgbtoffice@uidaho.edu or (208) 885-6583.

On Thursday December 1st (World AIDS Day) from 9-5 pm there will be free confidential HIV testing in the 3rd floor of the commons building on the U of I campus.

From 11:00 am-2:00pm the HIV:Idaho film will be shown in the commons food court.

At 7:00 pm Moscow will join other cities across the state to remember those who have been infected and/or affected by HIV.

On Friday, December 2nd, there will a free screening of the film, “Pills, Profits and Protest,” which chronicles the history of the global AIDS movement.

Click HERE for more information.

Boise: 

Thursday, December 1st:

There will be free testing all day at the Boise a.l.p.h.a. office, located at 1009 W. Bannock St. (Bannock & 10th). Call 208 424 7799 for more information or to find out about a testing location in Meridian, Nampa or a site nearest you for World AIDS Day.

A lunch time chat will be held from 12:00 to 12:45 at the a.l.p.h.a. Boise office, located at 1009 W. Bannock St. (Bannock & 10th), There will be a quick medical update and open discussion on HIV in Idaho. Bring your lunch and enjoy.

a.l.p.h.a. volunteers will be distributing 2,000 red ribbons throughout Downtown Boise. Lighted red ribbons will also be displayed in downtown merchant windows. To order go to http://www.alphaidaho.org  and click the “World AIDS Day” tab or call  for more information. There will also be volunteers distributing ribbons and information at the Boise Co-op at 888 West Fort Street in Boise throughout the day.

A Pre-World AIDS Day vigil reception will be held as part of Downtown Boise’s First Thursday. It will take place at Exposure a.l.p.h.a. Interchange from 5 – 8 pm for those that can’t make the vigil. The store is located at 213 North 10th Street, Boise.

This year’s World AIDS Day vigil will be held at 8:00 pm, on the steps of the Boise City Hall in remembrance of those who have been infected and/or affected by HIV. Following the vigil there will be a silent walk and reception at a.l.p.h.a.’s downtown office (1009 W Bannock).

Click HERE for more information. 

Meridian:

Thursday, December 1st:

Idaho State University/Meridian will be offering free, confidential rapid testing to students, faculty and staff all day.  Announcements have been posted through the ISU network. Thanks to all for the community efforts to educate and test Idaho!

Nampa:

Thursday, December 1st:

Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS (a.l.p.h.a.) is excited to announce that Nampa is taking part in World AIDS Day on Thurs. Dec. 1st. We will be meeting at the Nampa Police Department Plaza and have a candlelight vigil in memory of those who have been affected by AIDS. Directly after we will walk to Messenger Pizza for food and conversation. Bring a candle and your red ribbon in honor of those who this day is named for and remember to dress warmly.  The vigil will begin at 8 p.m.

Click HERE for more information. 

Caldwell:

Thursday, December 1st

The Southwest District Health Dept. will be offering free HIV confidential testing, Thursday, Dec. 1, 8:00 am – 5:30 pm – 13307 Miami Lane, Caldwell, ID, Phone 455-5300

 Twin Falls:

Thursday, December 1st

There will be a HIV and AIDS informational fair at the College of Southern Idaho Student Union Building from 12:00-2:00 pm. The fair will include a presentation of the HIV:Idaho film and more. The event is free and open to the community.

From 1:00-5:00 pm a.l.p.h.a. will be offering free confidential 20 minute rapid oral HIV testing to the community. Testing will take place upstairs in rooms 211, 247 and 248 inside the College of Southern Idaho’s Student Union Building. The testing is free and open to the public.

This year’s World AIDS Day vigil will be held at 8:00 pm at the Twin Falls City Park in remembrance of those who have been infected and/or affected by HIV. Free hot cocoa, coffee and apple cider will be served.  Call 734-3842.

Click HERE for more information.

Pocatello:

Thursday, December 1st:

Free Rapid HIV Testing 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Salmon River Suites, Pond Student Union. Free for students & faculty/staff members. Condom Pin Decorating 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Bear River Room, Pond Student Union. Visual AIDS Gallery 6 – 8 p.m. Pond Student Union Transition Gallery. Candlelight Vigil 7 – 7:30 p.m. Quad. Movie Screening: RENT 8 – 9:30 p.m. Bengal Theater. Events are free for students with Bengal ID. Free red ribbon pins for those tested, free red ribbons, condoms and dental dams for all those who attend. Questions? Please contact the Involvement Center at: (208) 282-3451.  For more info visit isu.edu.

The HIV and AIDS Regional Planning Council of the Southeastern District Health Department will be sponsoring  a memorial service at the United Congregational Church, UCC, 309 North Garfield, at 7:00 pm.  There will be a speaker, music, a tree, and candle lighting ceremony.  Refreshments will be served afterward.

Idaho Falls:

Saturday December 3rd:

Elks Club, Saturday December 3, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm – 640 E. Elva, Idaho Falls, ID. Free Confidential HIV testing.  No appointment necessary.

%d bloggers like this: