On December 1, the National AIDS Memorial brings three powerful programs to the public for World AIDS Day that offer inspiration, hope, remembrance, and reflection. The programming, free to the public, includes a virtual national forum and observance, hundreds of community displays of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and a magical evening display of lights in the 10-acre National AIDS Memorial Grove.
"This year's World AIDS Day observance will inspire people young and old, as we remember those we've lost, provoke thoughtful conversations about health and social justice, and bring hope to our nation with light and reflection," said National AIDS Memorial CEO John Cunningham. "As we look back at the past four decades, while there has been tremendous progress, it is time as a nation to come together and finally find a cure."
The National AIDS Memorial invites the public to join its World AIDS Day Virtual National Observance on December 1 beginning at 8:30 am PST at www.aidsmemorial.org. The forum includes a series of conversations with national leaders on important topics about HIV/AIDS and health and social justice. Some of the featured speakers include Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House National AIDS Policy Director Harold Phillips, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Paul Kawata, Executive Director, NMAC, history-making television series Pose co-creator and executive producer Steven Canals and co-executive producer Our Lady J, Toni Newman, Interim CEO, Black AIDS Institute, Leonard Valentino, M.D., President & CEO, National Hemophilia Foundation, and Suzanne Brennan Firstenburg, Curator, Covid-19 National Mall Installation.
Heartfelt, personal and compelling conversations that will be presented throughout the day include: The State of HIV/AIDS, Four Decades Later; Changing Hearts and Minds through the Power of Pose; The Impact of HIV/AIDS in the Black Community; Looking to the Future with Young Leaders for Health and Social Justice; HIV/AIDS and Hemophilia Survivors and the Emerging Crisis of an Aging Population; and How Memorials Have Helped our Nation Heal.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt will return to communities across the country on World AIDS Day with more than 400 sections on display, both in-person and virtually. Hosted by community-based organizations. The display program supports the care and preservation of the Quilt and is used to help raise funds for local community-based organizations that host the Quilt. For more information about hosting the Quilt and learning where it will be on World AIDS Day, visit www.aidsmemorial.org/displays.
The National AIDS Memorial will hold a 30th Anniversary Outdoor Gala on the evening of November 30, a private, ticketed event in which the 10-acre Memorial Grove will be magically illuminated with artistic features and performances. Tickets for Light in the Grove can be purchased at www.aidsmemorial.org/litg21.
All proceeds from the Gala support the programs of the National AIDS Memorial.
For the first time ever, the Memorial Grove will remain illuminated for World AIDS Day, opening for a free public display of lights, beginning at 4:30 pm PST on December 1. The public is invited to stroll through the beautifully-lit Memorial Grove, experience a candlelight reflection in the Circle of Friends, and watch the traditional reading of the newly engraved names added to the memorial and stitched into new panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The event will be livestreamed at www.aidsmemorial.org.
The presenting partner for this year's World AIDS Day event is Gilead Sciences. Quest Diagnostics and Chevron are Angel partners. Since 2020, Gilead has provided more than $3 million in grants to the National AIDS Memorial to support its programs, including the relocation of the Quilt to San Francisco, its care and preservation, and the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship.
Each year, World AIDS Day brings people together to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, show their support for people living with HIV and commemorate the lives lost. The National AIDS Memorial is looked upon as the organization within the national landscape to remember, honor and help ensure the stories of the AIDS pandemic are never forgotten. In 2021, the nation marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the U.S. with more than 700,000 lives lost in the past four decades. Today, while much progress has been made, HIV rates continue to rise in the U.S., with 1.2 million people living with HIV today, particularly impacting young people and communities of color.
"Together with our partners and supporters, we are helping ensure that the story of AIDS remains in the public spotlight today, in the future, and is used as a teaching tool to bring hope and change in the long struggle for health and social justice," added Cunningham.
In the 30 years since the National AIDS Memorial was created, its mission has grown to include the 10-acre Memorial Grove, the 50,000 hand-sewn panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and engaging programs that include storytelling initiatives, youth scholarships, Quilt displays, volunteer workdays, and powerful community events.
To learn more about the memorial and its World AIDS Day programs, including a full list of speakers, events and information on how to participate and provide support, visit www.aidsmemorial.org.