In the long fight against HIV/AIDS, the National AIDS Memorial honors the more than 700,000 lives lost to AIDS during the past four decades.
June 5th marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States. It is also HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day. The issues our nation faced in the past year -- a raging pandemic with hundreds of thousands of lives lost, social injustice, health inequity, stigma, bigotry and fear – are also the issues faced throughout four decades of the AIDS pandemic. It is why today, we have a National AIDS Memorial.
As the nation’s federally designated national memorial to honor the lives lost to AIDS, our mission is so much more, particularly as we face a rise in HIV rates today, particularly in communities of color and among Black gay men and young people.
Through powerful programs, the National AIDS Memorial shares the story of HIV/AIDS as a teaching tool to help educate and raise greater awareness. We offer healing and hope to survivors and those living with HIV today and help inspire a new generation of leaders to carry the torch against health and social injustice and end the root causes of both.
“On this solemn day, forty years since the discovery of HIV/AIDS, Americans pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Americans we have lost to this vicious disease and draw strength from the more than one million courageous survivors living with HIV today. Moved by the beauty of the Grove and power of the Quilt, this morning we again renewed our vow to finally defeat the scourge of AIDS and bring hope and healing to all those affected. Thanks to the tireless leadership of activists, survivors, scientists and the LGBTQ community, we will not relent until we banish HIV to the dustbin of history and achieve an AIDS-free generation.” ~ Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Importantly, this commemoration honors those we’ve lost, the survivors and the heroes who have been on the frontlines of finding a cure and aiding those in need.
“The Quilt is a poignant and important reminder of why we must work with a sense of urgency to help end the epidemic. It will take the ongoing collaborative efforts of many groups working together, including activists, advocates, scientists and the LGBTQ+ community, to ensure that in another 40 years from now, the HIV epidemic is part of history. Gilead partners with allies like the National AIDS Memorial to remember those we’ve lost and raise greater awareness about the root causes driving the HIV epidemic, such as stigma, racism, homophobia and transphobia.” ~ Daniel O’Day, Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences.
june 5 - A NATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE AND TRIBUTES
The National AIDS Memorial honored the more than 700,000 lives lost to AIDS, the survivors and the heroes during the past four decades. During a powerful ceremony, leaders of the AIDS movement provided touching tributes of activism, resiliences, hope and remembrance.
Special guests featured in the program:
National Leaders: Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Dr. Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director, NIAID
California State Leaders: Governor Gavin Newsom; State Senator Scott Wiener; Assemblymember David Chiu
San Francisco Leaders: Mayor London N. Breed; Supervisor Rafael Mandelman
Special Guests: Former U.S. Ambassador James Hormel; former UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman; National AIDS Memorial Grove Co-Founder, Alice Russell-Shapiro
Long-term Survivors: John Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer, National AIDS Memorial; AIDS Memorial Quilt Co-Founder Cleve Jones; Lonnie Payne, National AIDS Memorial Board Member; Tez Anderson, Executive Director, Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome)
Young Leaders in Today’s Movement: A Spoken Word performance by Ima Diawara, Mary Bowman Arts in Activism Awardee and Antwan Matthews, Pedro Zamora Scholar and National AIDS Memorial Board Member
Leaders in Research and Care: Jared Baeten, Vice President, Gilead Sciences HIV Clinical Research; Michael Gifford, President & CEO, Vivent Health; Eric Johnson, Quest Diagnostics, Executive Director, West Region; Executives from national and regional AIDS Service Organizations, including Kevin Rogers, Interim CEO, San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Faith-Based Leaders: Marvin White, GLIDE Minister; Rev. Ernest Larkins, City of Refuge
Musical Performances: Members of Messengers of Hope Gospel Choir featuring Ja Ronn and Flow; the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.