World AIDS Week 2011

Today kicks off World AIDS Week 2011! Check out a listing of Columbia campus events here, including our panel on Thursday night which is open to the public–if you are in NYC, please consider attending as tickets are only a $7 donation and you will surely be inspired by our speakers, such as the founder of Aid for AIDS Jesus Aguais and the founder of the Columbia Gay Health Advocacy Project (an amazing organization that provides free testing and was a locus for on-campus organizing in the early years of the pandemic) Laura Pinsky. Here’s the week calendar event page:

If you’re on campus, please stop by Low to check us out all week–we’re making a public art project to raise awareness (and funds) to end AIDS.

Next, some bad news: cuts from donor nations have forced the Global Fund to cancel its most recent round of grants. 

The effects have terrible consequences for the vital programs that depend on the Global Fund: 

The group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) called the cancelation of grants “an unprecedented event which will have a direct impact on tens of thousands of people living with HIV.

According to MSF, more than 70 percent of antiretroviral drugs in the developing world are funded by the Global Fund. In Africa, the fund finances about 85 percent of TB programs. 

“The impact of the cancelation halts progress in fighting the epidemic in countries facing the brunt of the epidemic,” MSF said.

The group added: “The dramatic resource shortfall comes at a time when the latest HIV science shows that HIV treatment itself not only saves lives, but is also a critical form of preventing the spread of the virus, and governments are making overtures that there could be an end to the AIDS epidemic.”

So, what can you do? For starters, you can sign the petition at to demand that President Obama scale up funding for HIV treatment now. Treatment was demonstrated to be prevention, so investing in wide-scale treatment now, despite the economic crisis, will save millions of lives and avert millions of new infections. On top of that, it will actually save us money in the long run by slowing the transmission of HIV, requiring increasingly fewer people to be treated until the pandemic can finally be ended by about 2041–30 in, 30 out!. 

Also, please call the White House Comment Line at (202) 456-1111 and let President Obama know that you are hoping for his strong commitment to increase HIV treatment funding and be the president who ends AIDS. I’d definitely suggest mentioning the cancellation of Global Fund grants, as well as the target of 6 million people on treatment by 2013. Here’s a script for some inspiration:

Hello, my name is _____. I’m calling

to urge President Obama to increase HIV treatment funding to put 6 million people on treatment by 2013. President Obama has flat-lined funding in previous budget requests. If he instead increases his funding request for 2012 to reach the goal of 6 million people on treatment by 2013, we could end AIDS by 2041. Will President Obama commit to increase HIV treatment funding and become the president to end AIDS? Thank you.

Expect more updates this week! 



Hey Y’all!

I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with fun, food, friends, and family! I just got back to Barnard, and of course did not feel like working on my many essays right away, so I went to Hulu to catch up on some TV. However, I got distracted by the fact that Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was online. I hadn’t watched it in years, but I felt like it was the perfect thing to watch after stuffing my face with food for a solid four days. In case any of you want to continue the holiday spirit with your suitemates/hallmates/roomates or whoever with a great holiday movie, I suggest it. (I think it should still be on Hulu for a while longer.)

Happy Thanksgiving!


Mary Margaret

How to Make a Micro-Mini Zine

I’m going to be doing a zine reading tonight (in the Diana, room LL104 at 7pm) at an event called Meet Me at the Race Riot: Women of Color in Zines from 1990 to Today.

As I was folding my zines for the event (which include the mini de-stress zine that we pass out at Well Woman), I got extremely excited! So excited, in fact, that I thought I’d make a video in celebration – so for all you folding wizards/witches out there, here is my tutorial on how to make a micro-mini zine (a 16-page mini-booklet made out of just 1 sheet of 8.5×11):

You can access the micro-mini zine layout on my page. You can see more of my work at my blog, The Cowation. Or you can check out some of my zines, including The Bearniverse!

Creating an AIDS-free generation is now official US policy!

Yesterday, Secretary Clinton delivered a speech in which she outlined a vision for an AIDS-free generation. (You can also check out a video clip here). This is huge news, and I hope that the administration will make more similar announcements.

If you hope for the same, visit and sign the petition urging President Obama to scale up HIV treatment funding. If we put more people on treatment sooner rather than later, we can end AIDS  within 30 years!

“We know we’re being sexist, so that makes it okay!”

The Atlantic recently published an incredible article on the portrayal of women in advertising, basically claiming that when advertisers failed to prove that women are inferior (circa 1950s, there are some crazy ads in there!), they settled with “women are pretty.” Yes, yes we are. But we’re also, you know, people. With qualities unrelated to physicality. Shocking, I know, but it’s true.

Recently, the article points out, advertisements acknowledge the fact that they are, in fact, sexist. One clip included in the article shows two guys infiltrating a yoga class for the purpose of checking out women in spandex. The yoga instructor kicks them out–because objectifying women is WRONG, y’all. But by superficially acknowledging that, we’ve made it all better! We can continue objectifying women without feeling guilty. As the article says: “We know we’re being sexist, so that makes it okay!” (I assume I don’t need to point out the flaws in logic, here…)

Definitely worth checking out. My major point of contention with the article: it claims “women have achieved parity in the labor force.” Vat? We have? When did this happen, and where was I? Last I checked, there was a pretty major wage disparity between men and women. As in, women earn 78 cents for every dollar men make. Also a disproportionately low number of women CEOs. Note to author: number of people in labor force equals IS NOT THE SAME AS parity.

To prove this, and to continue the discussion about the portrayal of women in advertising, check out this AMAZING extended trailer for a new documentary, “Miss Representation.” It will change your world. I mean, really, try to watch it and *not* be enraged. I dare you.