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How You Can Observe World AIDS Day

NYC AIDS Memorial
New York City AIDS Memorial

You can remember those we've lost and vow to carry on the fight through candelight vigils, receptions, memorial dedications, and even a Facebook filter.

Today is World AIDS Day, a day to honor the memories of those claimed by the epidemic, to support people living with HIV, and to renew commitments to prevention, treatment, and eventually a cure. You can join in the observance at a variety of events around the nation. Here is a selection.

AIDS Memorial Dedication, New York City

New York City will dedicate its AIDS Memorial today. The memorial is the primary feature of a new public park, the New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent's Triangle in the West Village. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and will be emceed by Tony Award-winning performer Billy Porter. The program will feature a formal dedication by the New York City AIDS Memorial Board of Directors, words from elected officials, a memorial reading of names, a poetry reading by Kamilah Aisha Moon, and a performance by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. There will be a pre-reading of names beginning at 10:30 a.m., and if you prefer not to stand outside, there will be a viewing room set up for a live feed at the LGBT Community Center. Find more information here.

Voices of Hope, Beverly Hills

The Advocate and activist Michael J. Libow are presenting Voices of Hope from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. There will be talks by Libow, Beverly Hills Council member and former Mayor Lili Bosse, Here Media editorial director Lucas Grindley, actor and advocate Mel England, Olympic gold medalist and advocate Greg Louganis, and medical adviser Dr. Michael Gottlieb, who will each pay tribute to the many lives lost to the pandemic. Panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display. Admission is free; RSVP here.


Black AIDS Institute Heroes in the Struggle, Los Angeles

The Black AIDS Institute will hold its Heroes in the Struggle gala reception and awards presentation from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. Honorees are director-producer-activist and Empire creator Lee Daniels; Douglas M. Brooks, former director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy; Dazon Dixon Diallo, founder and CEO of Sisterlove Inc.; Marc Meachem, director of external affair for, ViiV Healthcare; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Mark Ridley-Thomas; and Gilead Sciences. Empire star Jussie Smollett will host. Get tickets here.

Hearts Rising, San Francisco

San Francisco's perennially sold-out Light in the Grove at the National AIDS Memorial Grove happened last night, but the city has two observances planned for today. At 10 a.m. students from the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy and other San Franciscans will write the names of those lost to AIDS in brightly colored chalk along Castro Street. Then from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. comes Hearts Rising, an annual event at the Memorial Grove, featuring awards to Paul Katawa of the National Minority AIDS Council and to the national hemophilia community, presentation of the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship Awards, reading of names, a performance by Paula West, and a complimentary luncheon. More information is here.

White House LGBT Summit, New Orleans

The White House will hold its latest regional LGBT Summit today in New Orleans. Cohosted by Louisiana's Equality Forum, it will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tulane University. The summits provide an opportunity to highlight federal services available to LGBT people, lift up the work of local LGBT activists and allies, and create a forum for advocates to connect and discuss ideas. If you aren't attending, you can watch the afternoon plenary session, featuring Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, on Facebook Live beginning at 12:15 p.m. Central time. Go here to watch.

"Living With," Atlanta

In Atlanta, Georgia Equality will honor the day with "Living With," an exhibit of multimedia installations telling the stories of five HIV-positive young people and created by the youths in collaboration with local artists. There will be a reception from 6 to 9 p.m., with food and beverages, at Gallery 874. Buy tickets here.


World of Chocolate, Chicago

You can help the AIDS Foundation of Chicago fund its important work by attending World of Chocolate, which will feature gourmet chocolate creations by numerous chefs, custom cocktails, and a chance to win prizes. There will also be awards for the most delicious treats. Advance tickets are no longer available, but there will be ticket sales at the door. It all happens from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Revel Fulton Market. All the details are online.

Giving Breakfast, Youth Symposium, and Winter Wonderland, Detroit

Detroit will observe World AIDS Day with a variety of events: a Giving Breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m., a youth symposium from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a Winter Wonderland fundraiser from 7 to 11 p.m. All the events happen at the Garden Theater. Get tickets and info here.

Quilt Display and Candlelight Vigil, Phoenix

Phoenix will mark the day with a free display of panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the Parsons Center for Health & Wellness during the day, followed by a candlelight vigil in the center's parking lot beginning at 6 p.m. Find details and directions here.

Tree of Life Ceremony, San Diego

San Diego will have its 25th annual Tree of Life Ceremony and candlelight vigil at Village Hillcrest at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will include special guest speakers, holiday music by the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus, and complimentary refreshments. You can buy personalized ornaments to hang on the tree, with proceeds benefiting Mama's Kitchen, which provides meals to people with AIDS or cancer who are too ill to cook for themelves. Get more info at the Mama's Kitchen website.


World AIDS Day Luncheon, Houston

AIDS Foundation Houston will observe World AIDS Day and raise money for its efforts with a noon luncheon at Hilton Houston Post Oak. Longtime activist and Poz magazine founder Sean Strub will be the keynote speaker, and the luncheon will be preceded by a VIP champagne reception at 11 a.m. Advance sales are over, but you can try to buy tickets at the door. Get more info here.

#POZArt, Washington, D.C.

#POZArt in the nation's capital brings together HIV-positive and HIV-negative artists to unit in the fight against AIDS. To be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at Busboys and Poets: Brookland, the free event will include poetry, visual art, and performance art, and promises an evening of networking and empowerment. Find more details here.

An Evening of Storytelling, Baltimore

At the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus, An Evening of Storytelling: HIV Providers and Professionals United promises thought-provoking discussion. Dinner will be provided, and all are welcome. It happens from 5 to 7 p.m.; find additional info here.

Red Party, Salt Lake City

The Utah AIDS Foundation hosts its annual Red Party, featuring cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rest at Bodega in Salt Lake City. There will also be raffles to win fabulous prizes, and all proceeds benefit the foundation. RSVP at the group's website.

Memorial Service, Honolulu

The World AIDS Day Hawaii Committee presents its annual public memorial service at 6:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu. Al and Jane Nakatani of Honor Thy Children will speak, and the Hawaii Department of Health will also present the 13th annual Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award. A reception will follow, catered by Slow Food O'ahu. Find details here.

Honor the Day on Facebook

If you don't see an event in your area in this listing, contact your local AIDS service agenci or LGBT community center. And even if you can't go to an event, you can observe World AIDS Day via Facebook. Project Runway All Stars winner Mondo Guerra, who is HIV-positive, has created a filter you can use on your profile picture to honor the day. Download it here.

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