World aids Day
December 1 marks World AIDS Day.
I didn't remember until someone mentioned it on Twitter.
There was a time when I spent months & months preparing for World AIDS Day. During college, I volunteered for The Names Project in Washington, DC, more commonly known for the AIDS Memorial Quilt. I did silly things like seal newsletters & clean the office. Also, I did meaningful things like repair damaged panels, pack panels for displays across the country & assist with the display of the entire quilt on the National Mall. In the months leading to World AIDS Day, I channeled my energies to the big day to increase awareness about AIDS, support those living with AIDS & remember those we lost to AIDS. This volunteer job meant the world to me.
I remember my four years of volunteering with fondness & sadness. It wasn't so long ago, yet things were much different then. People were still dying of AIDS in America at an alarming rate. I worked side-by-side with two gay men who were living with AIDS. They had the brightest, biggest smiles & sweetest, kindest personalities. One died during my volunteer years & the other died a few years later. This world is a little less beautiful without them in it.
I graduated from college & despite a brief tenure volunteering for the New Jersey chapter, my time with The Names Project came to an end. The pursuit of career & personal goals became my priority. But never did I intend to forget this cause that is so important to me. At the very least, I planned sport my red ribbon on every World AIDS Day. Somehow I got from there to here.
The college me couldn't envision a future me who would not remember World AIDS Day.
We have not accomplished the ultimate goal of a world without AIDS. On World AIDS Day 2011, I make a vow to recommit. Maybe it will be just a blog post now & then. Maybe it will be just a red ribbon worn everyday. Maybe I will get involved in a World AIDS Day event. But no matter what, I will not forget we have a world with AIDS.
This is the final blog post for this week & I dedicate it in memory of Pedro & Chris. You forever touched me & you're always remembered.
Image via World AIDS Day