NYC AIDS Memorial Observes ‘World AIDS Day’ December 1, 2023




World AIDS Day Observance, New York City AIDS Memorial, 2022. Photo by Alexander Sargent, Courtesy of the New York City AIDS Memorial © New York City AIDS Memorial, 2022.

Each year, on December 1, the world gathers to remember those lost to and impacted by HIV/AIDS and champion the ongoing fight against the epidemic. To commemorate World AIDS Day, the New York City AIDS Memorial will host its annual, free, and public day of observance featuring programming in collaboration with organizations dedicated to bringing communities together in the fight to end AIDS.

“It is a privilege to be the hub for New Yorkers to gather to remember, reflect, and renew on World AIDS Day. We are proud to join our incredible partners to hold space on this important day and are thankful to all those who participate. The New York City AIDS Memorial stands not only as a tribute to those we have lost and those who have long fought to end the epidemic but also as a monument to community spirit and caretaking, something we hope will be abundant on December 1st,” notes Dave Harper, Executive Director, New York City AIDS Memorial.

Our observance begins at 10 AM with a reading of names of New Yorkers lost to AIDS, presented for the second year in partnership with Housing Works, a New York City-based non-profit fighting the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness. This moving and powerful representation of the vast number of lives unnecessarily cut short by the epidemic was previously staged for several years at City Hall. We are honored to renew this important and healing tradition at the Memorial.

NYC AIDS Memorial at the intersection of Greenwich Avenue & Seventh Avenue South, NYC

“Housing Works and the HIV community have worked tirelessly to end the AIDS epidemic in New York City and State. We get closer to that goal every year. While the number of new infections declines, the work is not done. On World AIDS Day, we honor the thousands of friends and loved ones we’ve lost and reignite the fight to end the AIDS epidemic worldwide,” says Charles King, Housing Works CEO. All in attendance are invited and welcome to participate in the reading. Additionally, there will be a press conference on-site at 11 AM featuring remarks by local elected officials, to be confirmed.

Starting at 4 PM and running throughout the remainder of the day’s observances, the New York City AIDS Memorial will once again partner with Queer Soup Night (QSN), a volunteer-run organization founded to strengthen local queer communities across the country, to serve hot soup for attendees. Featuring creations by leading LGBTQ+ New York-based chefs Alex Koones, Chala June, Levi Allen, and Lj Almendras, QSN will help us create community through sharing space, food, and generosity. Fresh produce for the event is generously provided by Farm to People, whose mission is to make great food conveniently available to everyone in New York City.

At 6 PM, the series of events continues with a gathering for the 32nd Annual Out of the Darkness candlelight vigil and march. At the close of the vigil around 6:30 PM, attendees are invited to continue to St. John’s Lutheran Church at 81 Christopher Street for further programming with additional speakers and performers. Organized by activists Brent Nicholson Earle, Jeff Bosacki, Robert Gonzalez, and Barbara Martinez, Out of the Darkness was founded by the American Run to End AIDS (AREA) with co-sponsors Charner Transformative Communication, International AIDS Prevention Initiative (IAPI), Keith Haring Foundation, NYC AIDS Memorial, and St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Brent Nicholson Earle, Founder and President of the American Run for the End of AIDS, Inc. (AREA) comments, “All of us on the organizing committee for this year’s Out of the Darkness events on World AIDS Day are excited and inspired by our theme, “leading with kindness.” With the world in such turmoil and the continued need for AIDS awareness and prevention so great, no idea could be more timely.”

Finally, World AIDS Day programs will conclude at 6:30 PM with a performance conceived and directed by Kevin Carillo. Carillo, along with a company of countertenors and actors, will perform an excerpt from figaro/faggots, an evolving body of new work that combines the music of W.A. Mozart with text by AIDS activist and renowned playwright, Larry Kramer. The performance, featuring Sean Forte, Rudolfo Girón, Jalen Hicks, Tony Jenkins, Tyler Lea, Bryce McClendon, Austin Purnell, and Han Van Sciver, is documentary theater that incorporates song, found text and devised choreography. A different section from this suite of works was most recently performed for Larry Kramer’s Memorial at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in June of 2023.

A full schedule of programs, partners, and events can be found Here.

Avram Finkelstein, Dedications, 2023; Courtesy of the artist, commissioned by the New York City AIDS Memorial; Photography by Celeste Godoy.

While you’re there, Avram Finkelstein: Dedications will be on view in the Park until December 4, 2023.

Also on view, Jim Hodges: Craig’s Closet, on view in the Park to June 9, 2024.

About the New York City AIDS Memorial

Founded as a grass-roots advocacy effort in early 2011, the New York City AIDS Memorial organization is now a 501(c)(3) corporation with an 18-person board.

The mission of the New York City AIDS Memorial is to honor the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have died of AIDS and to acknowledge the contributions of caregivers and activists who mobilized to provide care for the ill, fight discrimination, lobby for medical research, alter the drug approval process, ultimately changing the trajectory of the disease. The Memorial, dedicated on December 1, World AIDS Day, 2016 aims to inspire visitors to remember and reflect while empowering current and future activists, health professionals, and people living with HIV in the continuing mission to end AIDS.

Today the organization maintains the New York City AIDS Memorial as a highly visible and architecturally significant landmark and a community space for the reflection and remembrance of men, women, and children lost to AIDS. It bears witness to the lessons of the epidemic through engagement and free, public community-centered educational, arts, and cultural programming at the Memorial site and virtually extends the reach of the Memorial through digital content and interactivity. Previous programs have included Jenny Holzer’s #LightTheFight in 2018, the exhibition Visual Impact: On Art, AIDS, and Activism in 2019, the site-specific soundscape installation Hear Me: Voices of the Epidemic in 2020, Steven Evans’ sculpture Songs for a Memorial in 2022, and new commissions by Avram Finkelstein and Jim Hodges in 2023.

About World AIDS Day

Inaugurated in 1988 as the first-ever Global Health Day, World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 each year. It is a day of solidarity for people around the world who are affected by HIV.  This is a day for voices to unite by sharing experiences, remembering those lost, and standing together in the fight against HIV.  While great strides have been made over the four decades since the first known reported cases of AIDS, this disease remains a public health challenge. World AIDS Day is an opportunity for every community and each individual to honor the more than 32 million people who have died worldwide from AIDS-related illness and a reminder that AIDS is not over.

Land Acknowledgment

The land on which the New York City AIDS Memorial sits is the traditional homeland of the Lenape, Merrick, Canarsie, Rockaway, Matinecock, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. We acknowledge the Peoples of these Nations – their cultures, their communities, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations – and their resilience throughout the HIV/AIDS epidemic and movement


Image: Beau Gomez, This Bed I Made, 2023. Video commissioned by Visual AIDS for Everyone I Know Is Sick.Image courtesy Grey Art Gallery

NYU’s Grey Art Gallery and the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC) are proud to partner with Visual AIDS for Day With(out) Art 2023 by presenting Everyone I Know Is Sick, a program of five videos generating connections between HIV and other forms of illness and disability. The program will take place on December 1st – World AIDS Day, from 3-5pm in NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, First Floor Room 113, 53 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012. Film screening and panel discussion (in-person).