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Rev. Al Sharpton to Demand Consistent HIV Assistance

By Daniel Villarreal

The Reverend Al Sharpton will urge lawmakers to continue funding HIV/AIDS services at the “Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS” rally and march tomorrow April 6 at noon at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn.

The event will be the third organized by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in which local and national advocates, spiritual and political leaders remind elected officials of the need to continue fighting the raging HIV/AIDS epidemic — an imperative especially important now that national sequestration budget cuts have threatened the existence of HIV treatment and research programs. New York's health departments alone have already undergone a $2,726,000 cut which could leave more than 68,000 individuals untested for HIV.

During Sharpton's speech at the first Keep the Promise rally during the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. (video below), he said, "One of the things that we have to deal with is the hypocrisy of the church community, those in the faith community that have not dealt with the issue because of their own bias and their own homophobia and their own misconception of what this is."

He continued, "Don't quote scriptures out of context. Your job, reverend; your job, rabbi; your job, imam is not to condemn people — it's to heal people."

Sharpton will be joined at the Brooklyn rally this weekend by AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, radio/TV personality Sway Calloway and musical guests such as DJ Lina, hip hop emcee Cassidy, Grammy Award-winner Bridget Kelly and the Rude Mechanicals Orchestra marching band.

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