12/1 – World AIDS Day

Put the red ribbon back on.  AIDS is not over

Today is World AIDS Day.
AIDS is not over.

I know we’re more than ribbons, that it takes more than that little flip of red material pinned to your sweater or shirt to bring about change in the world — and still, those ribbons mean something to me. They mean bravery and risk, the willingness to call attention to something that the larger community didn’t want to face.

We need to keep talking. Folks are still contracting HIV, offering it to others knowingly sometimes, and there’s no vaccine.

If you’re in/around San Francisco today:

The 15th Annual National AIDS Day Observance at the National AIDS Memorial Grove located in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

When: Monday, December 1, 2008 – Program starts at 12 Noon

Where: AIDS Memorial Grove, Golden Gate Park. (click here for map and directions)

The 15th annual World AIDS Day remembrance ceremony will be held on Monday, December 1st from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in the Golden Gate Park. This year’s event marks the 27th year in the fight against AIDS and commemorating all those whose lives have been touched by the virus. The theme, Coming of Age with AIDS, focuses that
people of all ages are affected by HIV/AIDS, and the greatest risk for infection is amongst 18 to 26 year olds.

This year’s guest speakers are members of the Stirling Family, four of five whom are HIV- ositive. The Stirlings will speak about their family’s struggle with HIV-AIDS, their “coming out” and how these realities have changed their lives, including their adoption of an Ethiopian orphan who was also HIV positive. The family has been featured on Good Morning America and in the cover story of POZ Magazine this past January.

With respect to the Stirlings, Gina Gatta, 2008 World AIDS Day co-chair and NAMG board member said, “The Stirlings’ story is that of Ryan White’s challenges times four. Their story is powerful and inspiring for anyone facing challenging health care issues.”

In addition to Gina, co-chairs this year include Thom Weyand, NAMG board member, and 13 year-old Annie Wilson, the first teenager to ever co-chair the Memorial’s World AIDS Day.

This program will commence with a moment of coming together, led by Reverend Jim Litulski, pastor of the New Spirit Church in Berkley, followed by a musical interlude performed by the Hamlin School Choir. The observance will include a brief period at the end of the ceremony when visitors will be invited to move to the Circle of Friends, where the recently engraved names of those honored in the Circle will be read aloud.

The National AIDS Memorial is a seven-acre dell in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, a living tribute to all those whose lives have been touched by AIDS and where people gather to heal, hope and remember. Passage of the National AIDS Memorial Grove Act in 1996 bestowed national significance upon the memorial, which began as a grassroots effort by local residents searching for a positive way to express grief in a community devastated by AIDS.

The Grove is the only federally designated AIDS Memorial in the United States.

For more information about the Grove Award and World AIDS Day at the National AIDS Memorial, please call (415) 765-0497 or visit AIDSMemorialGrove.org

(from Sam Spade’s San Francisco)