Organizing for Power: Road to 2020
On April 1, 2019, the Positive Women’s Network-USA (PWN), a national network of HIV-positive women and people of trans experience, unveiled a new year-long, nonpartisan electoral organizing strategy of voter engagement and mobilization.
Organizing for Power: Road to 2020 (OFP 2020) plans to train and support teams led by women and trans folks living with HIV to assess where candidates stand on issues critical to the HIV community; to analyze ballot measures, initiatives, and policy proposals that affect HIV-positive folks; and to register, engage, and mobilize voters in the field and online. OFP 2020 Training will begin with an intensive bootcamp, augmented by monthly web-based training and ongoing coaching during the 2020 election cycle to emphasize issues important to people living with HIV.
In their press release dated April 1, PWN-USA emphasized, “Elections have consequences. Following the 2016 election, conservative lawmakers have taken full advantage of their newfound power to drastically roll back human rights at the state and federal level…to disenfranchise and silence those who challenge their grip on power–Black and Latinx communities, women, LGBTQ folks, immigrants—decimating access to the most basic needs like health care, housing, and food.”
“The HIV community is a powerful voting bloc…Our members proved during the 2018 midterms that they were committed to making sure the voices of communities of color and low-income communities are heard,” explained Naina Khanna, PWN-USA’s executive director. “We are incredibly excited to be able to provide even more intensive training, coaching, and hands-on support to scale up our members’ impact on more races in crucial parts of the country.”
Applications for OFP 2020 teams are now open; the deadline for applying is May 31 of this year. Those interested in participating must apply in teams that include leadership and involvement of PWN’s priority constituencies—Black and Latinx cisgender and transgender women living with HIV—and demonstrate their commitment to PWN’s policy priorities and values.
Since its founding in 2008 by twenty-eight diverse HIV-positive women leaders, PWN-USA has applied a gender lens to the domestic HIV epidemic grounded in social justice and human rights. Their goal is to inspire, inform, and mobilize women living with HIV to advocate for changes that improve people’s lives and uphold their rights. In addition to federal advocacy, PWN-USA supports regional organizing and leadership development at a local and state level.
For more information about PWN-USA and specific instructions for applying for OFP 2020, visit: www.pwn-usa.org/ofp-2020.
—Reporting by Hank Trout
Hank Trout, Editor at Large, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.