The National AIDS Memorial is committed to being an inclusive social justice organization in its vision, organizational practices, programs, and actions. In particular, the National AIDS Memorial aims to be an anti-racist organization and a leader in intersectional racial justice thinking, organizing, and action in the health and social justice arena. The board and staff shall fully reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Health inequities and social injustices, stigma, fear and bigotry fuel the suffering. Governments respond poorly, making matters much worse. This is the story of our nation today, facing the extraordinary human loss from Covid-19. It is the story of the LGBTQ, women’s equity, racial divides, and other social justice movements. It is the powerful story of HIV/AIDS, now four decades into a worldwide pandemic.
Just as they have with Covid-19, communities of color have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. The reasons are not mysterious: The same systemic racism that devalues communities of color permeates institutions– healthcare, housing, work, family – that we need to take care of ourselves and one another. The coupling of racism and AIDS stigma has been lethal. So too has been the rising cases of hate crimes and acts of discrimination and racism against Black, Asian and the Trans communities.
At the same time, drawing on civil rights traditions and strategies –and on often-ignored community assets and resilience – these same communities have also been at the forefront of AIDS activism.
The National AIDS Memorial has long been committed to giving voice to these stories. Stories that operate at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Stories that illustrate that the fight against HIV/AIDS is inseparable from the fight against racism and hate. Stories that we must tell so that future generations can learn from the past and aspire our nation to a better tomorrow, free from bigotry, stigma and fear.
The National AIDS Memorial has joined more than 500 philanthropic leaders to Call for Solidarity and Collective Action. We are outraged and horrified by the racially motivated violence, harassment, and discrimination targeting AsianAmericans, especially women, youth, and older members of our communities. We have seen this type of bigotry and hate before, particularly during the darkest days of the AIDS pandemic, and through other civil and social justice movements that have sparked action, change, and acceptance. Through these efforts, we aim to help build a more visible and accurate portrayal of AAPI people and other groups of color in the American consciousness. We join together in supporting all efforts to guide this country to realize its best self as an inclusive multi-racial democracy in which everyone can flourish. Read the letter.
The National AIDS MemorialSurviving Voices Storytelling Initiative has produced a beautiful film series to tell the stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders (A&PIs) and HIV/AIDS. The A&PI community is unique in that it includes people from all over the globe encompassing a multitude of diverse countries and cultures such as China and India, regions such as Southeast Asia and Pacific Island Countries &Territories such as Guam. Many different languages and even more dialects are spoken, which makes outreach and education a challenge. And yet A&PI activists and their allies not only established a network of successfulA&PI focused HIV and AIDS organizations across the US, but in the process they helped in shaping and organizing groups at all levels to serve those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, that prior to AIDShad not existed within the A&PI community. Our hope is that through the sharing of these personal stories, it will provide greater understanding, healing, hope and acceptance.
“Transgender Americans of all ages face high rates of violence, harassment, and discrimination. Nearly one in three transgender Americans have experienced homelessness at some point in life. Transgender Americans continue to face discrimination in employment, housing, health care, and public accommodations. The crisis of violence against transgender women, especially transgender women of color, is a stain on ourNation’s conscience.”
— President Joe Biden in Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility - Read the full proclamation
The NationalAIDS Memorial Surviving Voices Storytelling Initiative produced a beautiful film series to tell the stories of the transgender community and AIDs, exploring the impact of the AIDS pandemic on the transgender community. The videos and interviews in this collection shed a light on the experiences of transgender women and men as well as non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals with HIV & AIDS. They also honor the contributions of the members of this community (both HIV+ and HIV-) to the fight against AIDS.
“We need to support all our brothers and sisters who are living with HIV/ AIDS. Their lives are precious, and policy makers must ensure that there are enough qualified, dedicated health professionals to care, support, and guidance for them. Congress must continue to do our part to end HIV in the United States, and the HELP Act moves our country in the right direction. We are in this together.”
— U.S. Representative John Lewis (GA-5th District)
The National AIDS Memorial says Black Lives Matter. We are against racism. We are against police brutality. We are against the killing of our black and brown brothers and sisters in the streets. We are against a system of oppression that has disproportionately kept black and brown people severely disadvantaged for centuries. This must end. The story of the AIDS epidemic is the story of black and brown people. We seek to listen. We seek to learn. We seek meaningful change that empowers and supports valuable black and brown life because Black Lives Matter.
The NationalAIDS Memorial honors Black lives lost to AIDS with a specially curated selection of 56 sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt bringing to light stories of the AIDS pandemic and its impact and loss in the African American community through the beauty and power of the Quilt.
Just as they have with COVID-19, communities of color have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. The reasons are not mysterious: The same systemic racism that devalues Black lives permeates institutions – healthcare, housing, work, family – that we need to take care of ourselves and one another. The coupling of racism and AIDS stigma has been lethal.
At the same time, drawing on civil rights traditions and strategies – and on often-ignored community assets and resilience -- AfricanAmericans have also been at the forefront of AIDS activism.
The National AIDS Memorial has long been committed to giving voice to the stories of Black lives, stories that operate at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability, stories that illustrate that the fight against HIV/AIDS is inseparable from the fight against racism, stories premised on the fact that Black Lives Matter.