2020 marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States, a pandemic that has led to nearly 700,000 lives lost and still no cure four decades later. This year, our nation struggles through another pandemic – the fight against Covid-19 – where the horrific loss of life has surpassed 250,000 in a matter of months.
World AIDS Day 2020 – A National Conversation will be presented virtually on December 1, 2020 beginning at 10 am PST at www.aidsmemorial.org or at www.youtube.com/aidsmemorial. The event is free to the public and will be available for viewing on the same websites after the initial broadcast for those who can’t join live.
Through a distinguished list of guest speakers, video storytelling, and musical tributes, the forum allows people to come together and honor the lives lost, the survivors, the activism and the heroes from over the span of four decades and two horrific pandemics.
Award-winning actor and long-time AIDS advocate, Judith Light, will host the day’s commemoration event that will feature Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and David D. Ho, M.D., Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University. They will be honored with the memorial’s National Leadership Recognition Award.
Mayors from cities that have been on the frontlines of both pandemics will lead a conversation on the impact the two pandemics have had on marginalized communities and how HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 have disproportionately affected communities of color and the systemic barriers that compound poor health outcomes.
Activists who have helped spark change and movements will lead a conversation about activism during both pandemics and the ongoing struggle for social justice.
During the event, the National AIDS Memorial will officially unveil the first-ever virtual exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on its website that features nearly 10,000 Quilt panels representing all 50 states and U.S. territories, using the power and beauty of the Quilt to help the nation heal during these difficult times.
The program will conclude with the traditional Reading of Names of newly engraved names at the memorial of loved ones lost to AIDS and those who loved them.
(via press release)