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March 28th, 2023
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U2's Bono in Oakland Friday

Posted on Friday, March 02 @ 12:58:12 CET by Macphisto

(Oroville Mercury-Register) -- nternational activist rock star Bono is in Oakland Friday to meet with African-American leaders about their community's rampant HIV/AIDS problem, a visit the city's congresswoman hopes will spotlight the disease's toll.

But if you're hoping to get a glimpse of him -- well, good luck.

The U2 frontman -- recognized among Time magazine's 2005 Persons of the Year for his work on issues of debt relief and HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa -- will meet behind an East Oakland church's closed doors at 9 a.m. with local service providers and their clients and at 10 a.m. with faith community leaders before holding a brief news conference.

"This visit provides an opportunity for an international AIDS activist to learn about what the epidemic looks like here in the United States and what we are doing to fight it," Lee said Thursday. "The fact that Bono is also a celebrity has the added benefit of shining a light on the terrible toll that AIDS is taking on African Americans in this country, which is something that, to be frank with you, the media has not paid enough attention to, and the public needs to learn more about."

Lee said she got to know Bono through our work in Washington on global AIDS issues, particularly in Africa. "We became friends and I invited him to come out to Oakland to get a first-hand sense of what the epidemic looks like in the African-American community."

Celebrity activists' visits to third-world countries have become almost cliche in recent decades, but -- other than in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- such visits to U.S. cities aren't quite so common.

"Look, African Americans make up 12 percent of the population nationally, but 50 percent of new HIV/AIDS cases," Lee said. "In Alameda County, African Americans make up 13 percent of the population and 43 percent of the AIDS cases. The point is that we have a real crisis, here and across the nation, and I don't think that you can be too dramatic in trying to call attention to that.

"You also need to understand that Bono and I both believe that this is a global pandemic, and that if we are going to be effective in ending it, our work in Oakland is going to need to be informed by our work in Africa, and vice versa," she added.

By Josh Richman, STAFF WRITER

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