Letters to the Editor

Bring substance to the AIDS issue

It’s a shame that rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges came to speak but said very little (“Ludacris talks safe sex,” Dec. 4, p. 1). I went into the Ludacris YouthAIDS event last week enthusiastic about hearing a fellow AIDS activist speak about the global pandemic. I hoped he would get across a message I fight hard for every day through the Student Global AIDS Campaign and my job at a local advocacy organization. Sadly, this was far from what occurred.

For a forum based primarily on questions, there were remarkably few answers. He discussed only condom use and getting tested for HIV. The YouthAIDS representative that collaborated with Ludacris was also painfully ill-informed. When a School Without Walls student asked why urban areas have higher infection rates, they gave no answer. They should have spoken about the correlation between HIV infections and income rates, or discussed high-risk groups. Instead, they skirted the issue.

YouthAIDS, based out of D.C., gave no information about where students could take action against the pandemic. Most of the real answers came from informed members of the audience. We live within walking distance of the major government and advocacy organizations that work on this issue. The speakers should have highlighted our abilities to take action by getting involved in relevant organizations. Instead, Ludacris refused to speak about public policy related to HIV/AIDS.

If hearing that 40 million people around the globe and 5 percent of D.C. residents are infected with HIV/AIDS saddens or angers you, then I challenge you to act. Volunteer at agencies like Food and Friends, which provides nutritious meals to HIV positive people, or PreventionWorks!, which gives clean needles to drug users to prevent new HIV infections. Educate yourself on relevant legislation dealing with AIDS, such as the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the PATHWAY act. Get involved with a student organization, speak to your friends about these startling statistics or become an educator in neighboring schools or around the world. No matter what you do, do something, because our world is dying.

-Rachel Stalnaker, Senior

Nightlife exists outside Foggy Bottom

Of all the bars, lounges, jazz clubs, nightclubs, cafes and hot new scenes in this city, why must the Bar Belle stick to the dive bars at the perimeter of Foggy Bottom? Any freshman with a decent ID could write a critique about the black hole of bars along M Street (Madhatter’s, Sign of the Whale, etc.). This year’s Bar Belle seems familiar only with the places that are a short stumble or 4-RIDE trip away from campus.

Although these bars are a fun and elemental aspect of college life for GW students, they’re old news. All they feature is the same old beer specials and the same old mix of Top 40 hits and 80s music.

I recommend that the Bar Belle venture beyond the border of Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle. It’s a great big city out there. Until she writes about bars new to GW students, they will have little reason to pay attention.

-Erica Taylor, Alumna

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