March 07, 2001


Oakland, CA - March 08, 2001, was proclaimed Representative Barbara Lee day in San Francisco by Mayor Willie L. Brown. The proclamation was presented at a University of California at San Francisco AIDS Research Institute event at which Congresswoman Lee was honored for her work on HIV/AIDS.

"This is truly an honor, and I am very grateful and humbled to receive this proclamation on International Women's Day. The U.S. Congress is finally realizing that the HIV/AIDS pandemic is not a Republican or Democratic issue, but a disease that threatens the entire human family," said Lee. "We have a lot of work ahead of us in raising awareness about the HIV/AIDS crisis at home and globally. We have made good first steps in the right direction, and we must continue our fight to eradicate this horrific disease."

The Proclamation presented by Mayor Brown's office cited Congresswoman Lee, who "has been a tireless advocate for women, and has brilliantly championed the need of African Americans in the U.S. in dealing with disparities in health outcomes," and because "her efforts have made the Congressional Black Caucus' Minority AIDS Initiative a growing source of funding for the cities hardest hit by HIV/AIDS disease such as both Oakland and San Francisco."

Congresswoman Lee was also honored as the first recipient of what is to become an annual award given by the UCSF AIDS
Research Institute's Center for Global Research on Women's Health. It is named after Auxillia Chimusoro, a pioneer in the battle against HIV/AIDS. In 1990 Auxillia became the first woman in Zimbabwe to declare openly her positive HIV status, despite the significant social stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and particularly to women with HIV/AIDS. In 1992 Auxillia formed Batanai, the first support group for HIV positive women in Zimbabwe.

"I am deeply honored and grateful to receive the Auxillia Chimusoro Award. Women like Auxillia are the real heroes in the war against AIDS," said Lee. "In my daily work fighting against HIV/AIDS, I am deeply inspired by her story. Her refusal to accept HIV/AIDS medications offered by treatment organizations, until the drugs are made available to all Zimbabweans infected with HIV/AIDS, reinforces the strong message that access to life-saving drugs is a basic human right. Again, I am deeply honored to receive this award in her name."

Upon returning from the 13th Annual AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, Congresswoman Lee successfully authored an amendment that increased the Foreign Operations Budget FY01 for international HIV/AIDS programs by $42 million. Last year Congresswoman Lee also co-authored the Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Act of 2000, which was signed into public law 106-264, on August 19, 2000, by President Clinton. That bill created the World Bank AIDS Trust Fund, a multilateral initiative that may ultimately leverage as much as $1 billion a year in international public and private investments.