Nashville Students, Residents Participate in National Grass-Roots Campaign to Increase Federal Funding for Fighting AIDS in Africa
Students at Vanderbilt University and other residents of Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday gathered at a local restaurant to call the White House as part of a nationwide grass-roots campaign to urge President Bush to pledge more funds to combat HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa before he travels to the region in January, the Tennessean reports. The campaign, which follows a visit last week from Irish rock star Bono, comedian Chris Tucker and Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) as part of Bono's Heartland Tour to raise awareness of the African AIDS crisis, includes making phone calls to the White House and other lawmakers to urge the administration to increase U.S. contributions to between $2.5 billion and $3 billion to fight AIDS worldwide. During last week's events, members of Bono's organization, Debt AIDS Trade in Africa, or DATA, met with local advocates to encourage them to participate in the campaign. DATA representatives said they hoped "thousands of people across the country" would call the White House on Wednesday and Thursday. DATA spokesperson Jen Bluestein, said, "People are saying locally, 'We know how to [advocate] in our community,'" adding, "Any noise that gets made in Nashville is amplified for us" (Cass, Tennessean, 12/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.