The New York City AIDS Memorial will mark the annual observance of World AIDS Day with an afternoon and evening of free and public programming with partners including Housing Works and Queer Soup Night.
Each year, on December 1, the world gathers to remember those lost to and impacted by HIV/AIDS and to champion the ongoing fight against the epidemic. To commemorate World AIDS Day, the New York City AIDS Memorial will host a free and public observance featuring a full afternoon of programming from organizations dedicated to bringing communities together, in particular in the fight to end AIDS.
“It is an honor to be a special and sacred place for New Yorkers to gather to remember, reflect, and renew – particularly on World AIDS Day. We are proud to join our incredible partners in holding space during readings and a candlelit vigil and are thankful to the musicians who will lift our spirits and the incredible chefs who will nourish us. 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 1,” notes Dave Harper, Executive Director, New York City AIDS Memorial.
The observance begins with a press conference at 1 PM, presented in partnership with Housing Works, a New York City-based non-profit fighting the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness. Following, at 2 PM, Housing Works will stage a four-hour long presentation during which multiple speakers simultaneously read the names of New Yorkers lost to the epidemic. This performance offers an overwhelming and powerful representation of the vast number of lives unnecessarily lost to the epidemic. Previously staged for a number of years at City Hall, this year will renew this important and healing tradition to value the lives lost to HIV/AIDS. The public is encouraged to join the presentation and read names aloud.
Starting at 5 PM and running throughout the remainder of the day’s observances, the New York City AIDS Memorial has partnered 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 Telly Justice (HAGS), Tony Ortiz (Chile con Miel), and Woldy Reyes (Woldy Kusina), QSN will help us create community through sharing space, sharing food, and contributing to something bigger than ourselves.
At 6 PM, the series of events continues with the 31st Annual Out of the Darkness candlelight vigil and march, leaving from the New York City AIDS Memorial at 6:30 PM and continuing to St. John’s Lutheran Church at 81 Christopher Street for a gathering with additional speakers and performances. Out of the Darkness was founded by the American Run to End AIDS (AREA) with co-sponsors ERC Consultants, GMHC, 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, “as we begin our fourth decade of presenting our Out of the Darkness events for World AIDS Day, the need for AIDS awareness and prevention remains as urgent as ever, especially as we contend with the additional challenges of COVID-19 and MPV, which disproportionately affect the same communities at risk for HIV/AIDS.”
Finally, the day’s events will conclude with a performance by Tapestry, a choral group that strives to promote diversity through its members, audience, and song repertoire. Tapestry will be performing Morten Lauridsen’s rich and intensely moving 1997 work, Lux Aeterna. The performance runs for approximately 25 minutes.
The New York City AIDS Memorial is located at the St. Vincent’s Triangle, 76 Greenwich Avenue, NYC
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