If youâ€™ve lost someone, or just want to know why so many of us care about World AIDS Day, here are some events you can check into for a better understanding or to share your grief. But most importantly â€“ please remember that AIDS isnâ€™t over. Defend your freedom of being and protect others by practicing safer sex.
Tonight there are several free events you can attend:
6:30 â€“ 9:30 pm BIENESTAR will host an ecumenical service at Placita Olvera, the Church of Our Lady the Queen of Angels at Olvera Street. BIENESTAR has made the elimination of discrimination and stigma against those living with HIV/AIDS a priority and this evening will be announcing the launch of an anti-stigma initiative that will educate the public about misperceptions and biases that keep people with HIV/AIDS from living, working, and fully participating in the community.Â Joining in the announcement is singer Graciela BeltrÃ¡n who will be one of the spokespersons for the initiative.Â See Â www.BIENESTAR.org or on Facebook: BIENESTAR Familia for more info.
7:00pm â€“ The Wall- Las Memorias hosts the 17th Annual Noche De Las Memorias with Mistress of Ceremonies Laura Diaz, News Anchor from KCBS Channel 2 News. The Wall-Las Memorias AIDS Monument is located in Lincoln Park at 3600 Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA 90031. Beforehand, pick up a commemorative red velvet cupcakesÂ from The Coffee Table Bistro 1958 Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, sold for $3.95Â each to benefit The Wall Las Memorias Project. Click here for more.
8:00pm â€“ 10:00. Michael Kearns and friends Tony Abatemarco, Diarra Kilpatrick, Joe Quintero and Dale Raoul read AIDS-related work. Produced by Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, INK-ubator at the Skylight, Playwright’s Arena. Skylight Theatre, 1816 N Vermont, Los Feliz 90027. No reservations needed. Check out the Facebook page.
Also tonight: 6:00pm Reception; 7:30 Award Presentation – The Black AIDS Instituteâ€™s 10th Annual Heroes in the Struggle Gala Reception, Silent Auction and Awards Ceremony at the Avalon Hollywood, 1735 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA. 90028. Click here for more info: www.heroesinthestruggle.com/ Tickets – $100 General (balcony) $75 Person with AIDS; $200 Main Floor â€“ and up.
The Black AIDS Institute and the Magic Johnson Foundation with Event Co-chairs Earvin
“Magic” Johnson and Cookie Johnson, Black AIDS Institute President and CEO Phill Wilson and Co-hosts Roland S. Martin and Sinbad will honor former President Bill Clinton, Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States; Blair Underwood, Award-winning actor, “The Event”; Lee L. Daniels, Academy Award-nominated producer and director, “Precious”; Sheila C. Johnson, Businesswoman and Philanthropist, Executive Producer of “The Other City;” Marvelyn Brown, AIDS Activist; Frank J. Oldham, Jr, President, National Association of People with AIDS; Willis Edwards, Civil Rights Icon, Board Member of the NAACP; Robi Reed, Award-winning producer and casting director, “For Colored Girls;” National Basketball Association, Corporate Hero. Celebrity presenters and performers include Loretta Devine, Tasha Smith, and HillÂ Harper.
InÂ World AIDS Day statement, Phill Wilson said, in part:
Next June will mark 30 years since the first AIDS cases were diagnosed in this country. The moment brings not only an opportunity for reflection, but also for a renewed commitment from each of us to do our part to finally end the spread of this diseaseâ€¦â€¦
Today in America, 152 people will become infected with HIV. Half of them will be Black.
Today in America, 2/3 of the new HIV cases among women will be black. Today in America, 70% of the new HIV cases among youth will be black.
That’s why our resolve to end AIDS must not end today. Every day, in both large and small ways, whether we realize it or not, we experience deciding moments that maintain the status quo, move us backwards or propel us forward toward our goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our communities. Far too many of us continue to turn a blind eye or wait for someone else to solve this problem.
Action is greater than apathyâ€¦â€¦
I have been living with HIV for 30-plus years. Every moment of my life is a deciding moment. I decide to care in the face of HIV/AIDS. I decide to fight apathy and complacency because of it. I decide to love in spite of it. Because I know it is in the caring, fighting and loving that I am greater than AIDS. And let me tell you something. Every moment of your life is a deciding moment as well. I know that you are greater than AIDS. The question is, are you willing to take action and prove it?