Photo by ebogjonson.com on Flickr
Many of us don't need a World AIDS Day to jog our memories of people we've lost to AIDS. They gave so much and they are missed so greatly that we cannot forget. San Francisco is widely celebrated for its diversity and inclusiveness and forward-thinking moves. Yet how much more diverse, more creative, more progressive, and more compassionate the city would be if the tens of thousands of people we lost to AIDS were with us still.
Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. Stop a moment to remember and honor. Ask your colleagues or friends if they have lost someone to AIDS. As with other painful times in our past, we tend to move on and not dwell on the difficult. But our history enriches us and increases our appreciation for where we are and who we've become.
Don't stop with remembrance. World AIDS Day is also about activism. Pause and reflect and then get back to making our neighborhoods better, our city more livable, and our lives more full.
NOPA neighbors regularly join the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles each June. Last year Dan Nguyen-Tan and Jarie Bolander undertook "The Experience of a Lifetime" and biked the seven day, 545 mile ride to raise funds for AIDS prevention and HIV treatment. If you know bicyclists making the ride this year, support their efforts with a donation.
Note: Join the 16th Annual Observance of Worlds AIDS Day at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park, at the intersection of Bowling Green and Middle Drive East, today from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. The program begins at noon and features the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and VOICES Lesbian Choral Ensemble. More information here.
A history note: Take a look here for a history of how a San Franciscan, KPIX-TV reporter Jim Bunn -- on loan to the World Health Organization -- conceived the idea of World AIDS Day and helped launch the first observance in 1988.