I just heard about the website HOPE: Living and Loving With HIV in Jamaica. Really, its a work of art that’s also a testimonial and public education tool.

To browse through it is a spiritual experience.

This is clearly the product of some serious hard work by our own Kwame Dawes, uncommon bravery of the many participants, and of course, access to resources of the Pulitzer Center and the opportunity to make difference.

For me, this website is a great example of what can happen when imagination, creativity, compassion, commitment and love of country are allowed to feed off and nurture each other. The website – with the powerful interweaving of visual and sound – reminds me of the amazing works of art – performance, poetry, music, dance, writing, painting – that came out beginning in the early 1990s as gay men in the US sought to name, mourn, contain and resist the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Beautiful!

Let me know what you think, what you learned, where it took you, where you are on the questions posed – and answered – by the individual stories and website as a whole.

Today’s Star reports that organizers in Toronto are gearing up for a long fight with the Jamaican government. Read the article here. Yardflex also had this to say.

Now, wouldn’t it be great if some impatient and pissed off group of Jamaican citizens right yah so a ya’ad decided to take leadership on this issue and organize a grassroots public education campaign to speak out against the violence, bigotry and prejudice that’s crippling our ability to live with each other? Just in case you didn’t know — and contrary to the opinion of many of the stiff upper lip variety — democracies are not possible without noisy rabble-rousers demanding a better place for the most disenfranchised, and therefore all, of us. Besides, you don’t have to like the strategy that the Canadian folks are using. JFLAG certainly doesn’t.

However, I think calling for the boycott is worth a try because new issues, conversations and breakthroughs will come about as a result of the debate about whether boycotts are the best way at this time. The ripple effects, and the unintended consequences are what matters. Action, and organized collective action is the only way we can ever get to a new place. So, stop griping and moaning about the foreigners always telling us what to do — sorry to say, but foreigners tell us what to do on pretty much everything that matters in our lives these days — you didn’t hear Bruce Golding’s budget address?

The question is, what do YOU want – more of the same or something different and better?

Take your stance and act accordingly, but expect that you should be held accountable for what you do or don’t do on the issue of creating a more just and fair society.