I am writing to express my disappointment with the lack of coverage received from our local media with respect to the recent “Walk My Red Road II” HIV/AIDS conference.
I am an employee of the United Native Friendship Centre and am one of the five people who organized this conference.
As a group, we feel that getting the message of HIV/AIDS out to the community at large is an important task. It has been our objective to educate and subsequently create an awareness and sensitivity to those infected and affected in our community. Yes, our community!
Although we are employed by First Nations organizations, the tragedy of HIV/AIDS is not exclusive to people of the First Nations. We were hoping the local media would assist us in getting this message out, however, that was not the case. It seems that we take issues such as the ownership of hockey schools much more seriously than we do issues that could seriously impact the health and well-being of individuals and families.
HIV/AIDS is very real–and if you think that it is not going to happen here, there had better be some serious head shaking going on.
I am pleased to say we received excellent coverage from CBC Radio in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, as well as the national radio broadcast. We also received excellent coverage from the Daily Journal of International Falls. I might add neither of these media received money from this committee for advertising.
We do appreciate the coverage we did receive from the Fort Frances Times, however, as much as we like and appreciate the contributions of Sue Johanson, she is somewhat of a celebrity. It was our intention to put the face of HIV/AIDS to the community through one of our presenters, who is an average everyday person who happens to be infected.
I realize this is an extremely sensitive issue and that there are not many who are yet willing to hear about this virus and disease. We already are planning for next year.
We invite you to attend and do your part in assisting us with educating our community.