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An H.I.V Epidemic, Greensboro Sanctuary, and Remembering Pulse

June 13, 2017

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Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region.

1. America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic
Linda Villarosa in the New York Times Magazine: “Over the past several years, public-health officials have championed the idea that an AIDS-free generation could be within reach — even without a vaccine. But in certain pockets of the country, unknown to most Americans, H.I.V. is still ravaging communities at staggering rates. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using the first comprehensive national estimates of lifetime risk of H.I.V. for several key populations, predicted that if current rates continue, one in two African-American gay and bisexual men will be infected with the virus. That compares with a lifetime risk of one in 99 for all Americans and one in 11 for white gay and bisexual men. […] The crisis is most acute in Southern states, which hold 37 percent of the country’s population and as of 2014 accounted for 54 percent of all new H.I.V. diagnoses. The South is also home to 21 of the 25 metropolitan areas with the highest H.I.V. prevalence among gay and bisexual men.”

2. The Status of Black Women in The United States
“We are proud to share The Status of Black Women in the United States, a comprehensive report the from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and builds on IWPR’s longstanding report series, The Status of Women in the States. The report was produced in collaboration with the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s work to amplify the historical and current contributions of Black domestic workers to the broader domestic worker movement. It is our hope that this research supports on the ground organizing work across the nation, and helps form the basis for new policy, practice and legislation that supports the well-being of Black caregivers, so that all caregivers can be cared for in return. Using available data, we have attempted to paint a picture of the lived experiences of millions of Black women across the United State, and offers recommendations where the opportunities for Black women can be truly realized. The report analyzes data by gender, race and ethnicity for all 50 states and the District of Columbia across six topical areas: political participation, employment and earnings, work and family, poverty and opportunity, health and well-being, and violence and safety. In addition, the report includes basic demographic data for each state and a set of policy recommendations.”

3. Roxane Gay Tells Us About Daring to Be Fat
In Vice, Sara Rose Etter interviews Roxane Gay about her new book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body: “I had to negotiate what I would and would not write about. You can’t give the reader everything—you have to hold something back for yourself. I was very mindful of that. I tried to not write about my relationships too much or about my family. I don’t think you have to cannibalize yourself to tell an important story or to write about yourself.”

4. Facing deportation, she sought sanctuary in a Greensboro church
Camila Molina for the News & Observer: “Ortega came to the U.S. from Guatemala almost 25 years ago to flee guerrillas she says were threatening her. While she was seeking asylum 1999, Ortega left the U.S. without authorization from the government to care for a daughter in Guatemala who had a life-threatening illness. She returned to the U.S. with a false visa two months later. In 2011, ICE detained her at her job at Sanger Enterprises, a furniture textile company. Since then, every year, ICE has postponed her deportation order, until this year. During her routine visit with ICE in April she received an ankle bracelet and a deportation order to leave the U.S. by May 31. Leaving the country would have meant saying goodbye to her family – her husband, four children and two grandchildren.”

5. Un Año Después: Pulse en Nuestra Memoria; One Year Later: Remembering Pulse
Southerners on New Ground: “As we create our own self-determined spaces, we are reminded of the risks and fear for our safety. This fear has always been present as queer, transgender and gender nonconforming folks in the South. For decades, we have been attacked from all directions. Our bodies are policed and our are identities pinned as symptoms, both leading to violence thrown upon us. We constantly ask ourselves to dream and scheme for a world free from fear. But what will it take for us to be safe and free? After Pulse, we understood how it is important to equally hold physical and emotional space for each other. We made an intentional choice to not only be moved by grief, but also to be moved by our mandate.”