By Don Duncan
December 1 is World AIDS Day, an international day set aside by individuals and organizations to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. The theme this year is “Human Rights and Access to Treatment.” Among other political and personal messages, patient advocates all over the world today will be talking to their friends, loved ones, media, and elected officials about the challenges HIV/AIDS patients face in access the health care they need. Let’s hope their voices will be heard.
The medical cannabis movement is intimately intertwined with the demand for safe access to medicine to treat the symptoms of HIV/AIDS. If it were not for the tireless crusading of men like Dennis Peron, a figurehead for medical cannabis and GLBT rights, Proposition 215 may never have been adopted. His desire to see safe and affordable access for loved ones truly changed the world.
Los Angeles medical cannabis and HIV/AIDS advocate Richard Kearns is one of many who joined Dennis in this compassionate work. Richard is a poet, prolific blogger, and outspoken advocate. He serves on the Board of Directors of one of the oldest legally organized and operated medical cannabis collectives in the Los Angeles area. He is also one of the most frequent speakers about medical cannabis before the Los Angeles City Council – something that matters as the city’s largest city struggles to adopt regulations for safe access.
Let’s not let World AIDS Day pass without honoring the commitment and sacrifices of patient advocates like Richard. More importantly, let’s take the opportunity to recognize our roots and stand in solidarity with the men, women, and trans-gendered people with HIV/AIDS who helped build the nationwide movement for safe access to medical cannabis.
(Read Richard’s moving World AIDS Day poem at AIDS-Write.com)