Thousands Join Call for Robin Hood Tax in Washington March to End AIDS

National Nurses United, July 25, 2012

Thousands of people marched through Washington DC Tuesday in a call for stronger action, once and for all, that could bring an end to the AIDS pandemic. One thing most marchers agreed on was a clear way to pay for the fight against AIDS by taxing Wall Street and other financial institutions with a Robin Hood tax on speculation and trades.

Many of the marchers were in the colorful delegation, attired in Robin Hood hats, and carrying signs reading “It’s Not a Tax on the People, It’s a Tax to End HIV/AIDS”, led by members of Health GAP, National Nurses United, National People’s Action, and Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (Vocal-NY).

Along the way the Robin Hood marchers stopped to deliver personal messages to the offices of the Securities Industries Financial Management Association, Bank of America’s DC offices and at the US Chamber of Commerce national headquarters, saying time to pay up and support the tax.

"When we used to talk to Congresspeople and they asked, 'How long?' (will funding be necessary), we would artfully change the subject," Jennifer Flynn, managing director of Health GAP told reporters. But with recent advances, and with increased funding, she said, "in 30 years AIDS as a pandemic could be over."

“Wall Street took it away and Robin Hood wants it back,” said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN, in an address across from the White House. “That revenue can help AIDS prevention and treatment heree and abroad. And help meet all community needs - jobs, education, retirement, the environment.”

At the conclusion of the march and rally, a delegation of activists took dollar bills tied by ribbon and placed them in the White House fence, a reminder to the government that AIDS funding should be given our highest priority. Some of the dollars were inscribed with green emblems Robin Hood’s mask to evoke the calcall for a Wall Street Tax. Some 13 protesters were arrested in the course of this symbolic act.

Two years ago, at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, called for a Robin Hood Tax to raise money for causes like the eradication of HIV/AIDS. He said, “The financial crisis should not be an excuse to flat-line or scale back. In fact, it is an opportunity for new sources of funding, like a levy on global financial transactions a Robin Hood tax.”

Mr. Sidibe repeated this call for a Robin Hood Tax last week in Washington, DC, saying in his speech before the Conference Plenary:

“Momentum is growing for a financial transaction tax. This can easily close the gap in global AIDS investments. I am encouraged by the leadership of the president of France, François Hollande, who is calling to transform this idea into a global reality. I am repeating my call for a Robin Hood tax now.” You can read Sidibe’s speech here

Read and share related press and photos below:

AIDS Activists March to the White House
The Wall Street Journal, 07/24/12

AIDS protesters march; 13 arrested at White House
The Examiner, 07/24/12

AIDS conference unites protesters in march to the White House
Washington Post, 07/24/12

Robin Hood Answers Call for AIDS Funding
Robin Hood Tax Blog, 07/25/12

See and share photos here
Flickr Slideshow, 07/24/12

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Robin Hood