National AIDS Memorial Plans Virtual World AIDS Day Program

Dr. Anthony Fauci is participating in one of several discussions to mark World AIDS Day.
Reuters/JONATHAN ERNST

The National AIDS Memorial will mark World AIDS Day with a full slate of virtual programming on December 1, including panel discussions and a light show at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco.

The virtual program will kick off with a forum at 11:30 a.m. EST with opening remarks, a traditional prayer, and a performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Congressmember Barbara Lee of California will be on hand for the opening event, along with National AIDS Memorial CEO John Cunningham and Gilead chair and CEO Dan O’Day.

At 12:15 p.m. EST, White House AIDS Policy Director Harold Phillips will participate in a separate discussion about the state of HIV/AIDS today. The focus of that conversation will be placed on the disproportionate impact the epidemic has had on racial minorities and LGBTQ individuals. Phillips will be joined by Paul Kawata, the executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council; Dr. Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine and associate division chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; and Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

The third event of the program, on tap for 1 p.m. EST, will feature a message from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who spent decades as a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS before rising to become a household name for his work during the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci will deliver a message to the public and ask a group of young, aspiring leaders about how they plan to make a difference for the next generation in the areas of science, policy, health, and social justice.

Following Dr. Fauci’s discussion, there will be a gathering of Black community and faith leaders for a 1:45 p.m. EST panel about the work to eradicate racial disparities in HIV/AIDS. Panelists include Toni Newman, the interim CEO of the Black AIDS Institute; Bishop OC Allen, the executive director of the Vision Community Foundation; and Dr. Shonda Jones, the founder of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative Faith Coordinating Center at Wake Forest University.

At 2:30 p.m. EST, “Pose” co-creator Steven Canals will spearhead a chat about how television shows can bring visibility to the challenges facing marginalized LGBTQ communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The discussion will also include Tony Bravo, an arts and culture columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Shortly after that, a 3:15 p.m. EST roundtable will highlight the aging population of people living with HIV/AIDS and examine a recent study about people 50 years and older who are aging with hemophilia and are often HIV-positive.

The final group discussion on the schedule, set for 4 p.m. EST, will delve into the topic of memorials — particularly how they have helped people across the nation cope with losses during the epidemic. The chat will also touch on other kinds of memorials in different locations, including the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

The day of events will conclude with a 7:30 p.m. EST light display at the Memorial Grove and an 8 p.m. EST ceremonial reading of names that have recently been added to the Memorial Grove and the AIDS Memorial quilt. There will also be a candlelight vigil and artistic performances to commemorate three decades since the Grove was established.

For more information visit aidsmemorial.org/wad2021.

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