New York City AIDS Memorial Announces Annual World AIDS Day Observance On December 1
New York City AIDS Memorial Announces Annual World AIDS Day Observance on December 1
Free & Public Events Include a Community Gathering, Choral Performance, Queer Soup Night Fundraiser, and Candlelight Vigil
New York, NY – November 10, 2022 – Each year, on December 1, the world gathers to remember those lost to and impacted by HIV/AIDS and to champion the ongoing fight against the epidemic. To commemorate World AIDS Day, the New York City AIDS Memorial will host a free and public observance featuring a full afternoon of programming from organizations dedicated to bringing communities together, in particular in the fight to end AIDS.
“It is an honor to be a special and sacred place for New Yorkers to gather to remember, reflect, and renew – particularly on World AIDS Day. We are proud to join our incredible partners in holding space during readings and a candlelit vigil and are thankful to the musicians who will lift our spirits and the incredible chefs who will nourish us. The New York City AIDS Memorial stands not only as a tribute to those we have lost and those who have long fought to end the epidemic but also as a monument to community spirit and caretaking, something we hope will be abundant on December 1,” notes Dave Harper, Executive Director, New York City AIDS Memorial.
The observance begins with a press conference at 1 PM, presented in partnership with Housing Works, a New York City-based non-profit fighting the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness. Following, at 2 PM, Housing Works will stage a four-hour long presentation during which multiple speakers simultaneously read the names of New Yorkers lost to the epidemic. This performance offers an overwhelming and powerful representation of the vast number of lives unnecessarily lost to the epidemic. Previously staged for a number of years at City Hall, this year will renew this important and healing tradition to value the lives lost to HIV/AIDS. The public is encouraged to join the presentation and read names aloud.
“The HIV community has been working diligently with New York City and State to bring an end to AIDS as an epidemic since 2014. Each year we have gotten closer to that goal. But even as the number of new infections declines, it is imperative that we remember the thousands of friends and loved ones who lost their lives to this plague,” says Charles King, Housing Works CEO. All in attendance are invited and welcomed to participate in the reading.
Starting at 5 PM and running throughout the remainder of the observance, the New York City AIDS Memorial has partnered with Queer Soup Night (QSN), a volunteer-run organization founded to strengthen local queer communities across the country, to serve hot soup for attendees. Featuring creations by leading LGBTQ+ New York-based chefs Telly Justice (HAGS), Tony Ortiz (Chile con Miel), and Woldy Reyes (Woldy Kusina), QSN will help create community through sharing space, sharing food, and contributing to something bigger than ourselves.
At 6 PM, the series of events continues with the 31st Annual Out of the Darkness candlelight vigil and march, leaving from the New York City AIDS Memorial at 6:30 PM and continuing to St. John’s Lutheran Church at 81 Christopher Street for a gathering with additional speakers and performances. Out of the Darkness was founded by the American Run to End AIDS (AREA) with co-sponsors ERC Consultants, GMHC, International AIDS Prevention Initiative (IAPI), Keith Haring Foundation, NYC AIDS Memorial, and St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Brent Nicholson Earle, Founder and President of the American Run for the End of AIDS, Inc. (AREA) comments, “as we begin our fourth decade of presenting our Out of the Darkness events for World AIDS Day, the need for AIDS awareness and prevention remains as urgent as ever, especially as we contend with the additional challenges of COVID-19 and MPV, which disproportionately affect the same communities at risk for HIV/AIDS.”
Finally, the day’s events will conclude with a performance by Tapestry, a choral group that strives to promote diversity through its members, audience, and song repertoire. Tapestry will be performing Morten Lauridsen’s rich and intensely moving 1997 work, “Lux Aeterna.” The performance runs for approximately 25 minutes.
A full schedule of programs, partners, and events can be found at www.nycaidsmemorial.org/wad2022.
About the New York City AIDS Memorial
Founded as a grass-roots advocacy effort in early 2011, the New York City AIDS Memorial organization is now a 501(c)(3) corporation, with a 17-person board.
The mission of the New York City AIDS Memorial is to honor the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have died of AIDS and to acknowledge the contributions of caregivers and activists who mobilized to provide care for the ill, fight discrimination, lobby for medical research, alter the drug approval process, ultimately changing the trajectory of the disease. The Memorial, dedicated on December 1, World AIDS Day, 2016 aims to inspire visitors to remember and reflect as well as empower current and future activists, health professionals, and people living with HIV in the continuing mission to end AIDS.
Today the organization maintains the New York City AIDS Memorial as a highly-visible and architecturally significant landmark and a community space for the reflection and remembrance of men, women, and children lost to AIDS; bears witness to the lessons of the epidemic through engagement and free, public community-centered educational, arts, and cultural programming at the Memorial site; and virtually extends the reach of the Memorial through digital content and interactivity. Previous programs have included Jenny Holzer’s #LightTheFight in 2018, the exhibition Visual Impact: On Art, AIDS, and Activism in 2019, the site-specific soundscape installation Hear Me: Voices of the Epidemic in 2020, and Steven Evans’ Songs for a Memorial in summer 2022.
The Memorial sits at the gateway to a public park adjacent to the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital, which housed the City’s first and largest AIDS ward and became the symbolic epicenter of the disease through depictions in The Normal Heart, Angels in America, and other important pieces of literature and art that tell the story of the plague years in New York. The park site is also a block from the LGBT Community Center on 13th Street, where ACT-UP and other AIDS advocacy/support groups were first organized. Furthermore, the site is highly visible, accessible, and surrounded by amenities for visitors. For all these reasons, New York City officially named the park that houses the memorial the “New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent’s Triangle.”
About World AIDS Day
Inaugurated in 1988 as the first ever global health day, World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 each year. It is a day of solidarity for people around the world who are affected by HIV. This is a day for voices to unite by sharing experiences, remembering those lost, and standing together in the fight against HIV. While great strides have been made over the four decades since the first known reported cases of AIDS, this disease remains a public health challenge. World AIDS Day is an opportunity for every community and each individual to honor the more than 32 million people who have died worldwide from AIDS-related illness and a reminder that AIDS is not over.
The land of the five boroughs that make up New York City, including the land on which the New York City AIDS Memorial sits, is the traditional homeland of the Lenape, Merrick, Canarsie, Rockaway, Matinecock, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. These lands are also inter-tribal trade lands, and are under the stewardship of many more indigenous nations today. New York City is home to the largest populations of Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations, and Indigenous individuals out of any urban city across Turtle Island (the United States). We acknowledge the systematic erasure of many Nations and recognize those still among us today. We acknowledge the Peoples of these Nations – their cultures, their communities, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations – and their resilience throughout the HIV/AIDS epidemic and movement. We acknowledge and offer deep gratitude to Mannahatta – the land and waters on which we stand.
For additional information or images, or to request an interview please contact:
Ben Demars, Blue Medium Inc.