Journey for Justice

By Ussak, Amanda | Conscience, Fall 2018 | Go to article overview

Journey for Justice


Ussak, Amanda, Conscience


Waging Justice: A Doctor's journey to Speak Truth and Be Bold

Dr. Paul Zeitz

(Balboa Press, 370 pp)

978-1982205423, $25.95

WARAGING JUSTICE, THE story of one man's personal and professional journey to bring about global equity, details how Dr. Paul Zeitz drove a powerful agenda to the forefront of global policy making in the fight against HIV & AIDS. Simultaneously a personal memoir and documentary, Waging Justice is a guide for current and future activists, rich with lessons learned and take-away strategies that can be applied to any cause.

Waging Justice weaves a unified thread of motivation through nearly an entire life's work. From his earliest memories growing up in Philadelphia, Dr. Zeitz had a calling to help others, and a defiant streak to do so in the way he believed was best, often going against the established norms. First as a medical student pursuing non-traditional osteopathic medicine, through his vocal advocacy for a bigger financial commitment from the global community to the HIV & AIDS crisis, to his refusal to quit when challenged by politicos that disagreed with his methods, Dr. Zeitz has made a life's work of being bold and speaking truth to power. As an epidemiologist with more than a decade of field experience in Africa, Dr. Zeitz combined his topical knowledge with mentorship from civil rights and social change leaders to become a tireless advocate for global justice and human rights. He has received the Global Health and Development Achievement Award from The George Washington University for his many accomplishments.

Dr. Zeitz' work on HIV & AIDS began in 1994 while serving with USAID in the Republic of Zambia. Witnessing the mass devastation caused by the epidemic in Zambia first hand, including the loss of neighbors and close colleagues, motivated Dr. Zeitz to found the Global AIDS Alliance (GAA) upon his return to the United States in 2000.

German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quoted in the book, said, "the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." This was the case for Dr. Zeitz.

"Complacency and comfort with status quo are the problems," Dr. Zeitz writes. In this single line is his central critique of, and motivation to change, the global fight against epidemics like HIV & AIDS. Dr. Zeitz wanted to take a stand for the "conscience of compassionate Americans", and make sure that was reflected in United States foreign assistance to the HIV & AIDS crisis in Africa. The GAA served as this voice, calling for compassionate debt relief in countries afflicted by AIDS and a commitment by the United States to contribute its fair share to a $10 billion fund to combat AIDS in Africa. These efforts led to a successful push for President George W. …

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