Virtual programs highlight New York commemoration of World AIDS Day

Two men sit and talk while visiting the New York City AIDS Memorial on World AIDS Day in New York
Two men sit and talk while visiting the New York City AIDS Memorial on World AIDS Day in New York in 2017.
File photo REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The New York City AIDS Memorial is observing World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 with two projects, including a month-long nightly program at the site of the memorial that will also feature a lighting display.

The on-site audio project, dubbed “Hear Me: Voices of the Epidemic,” will bring poetry, speeches, news reports, and music to the memorial at St. Vincent’s Triangle in Manhattan. The hour-long soundtrack is slated to run every night in December beginning at 7 p.m., and is also available for streaming online.

A group of activists, caregivers, friends, and people living with HIV/ AIDS, some for decades, recorded separate readings for each day of the month of more than 2,000 New Yorkers died of AIDS in each clip. The composite recording will run daily beginning at 10 a.m. throughout the month.

Individuals are encouraged to experience the audio programs so long as they practice safe social distancing.

“In times of uncertainty, people look to the past for guidance,” New York City AIDS Memorial executive director Dave Harper said in a written statement. “Since our dedication on World AIDS Day in 2016, it has been the goal of the New York City AIDS Memorial to create a living and breathing tribute to the 100,000 New Yorkers lost to AIDS, and to the activists and caretakers who led the fight to end AIDS. This installation will connect the power of this place to the voices of the past, allowing visitors to learn and engage within our sacred space. We are thrilled to launch a new project that centers our organizational mission of remembrance during these challenging times while also creating public awareness of the ongoing AIDS epidemic through educational and cultural initiatives. We look forward to welcoming the public to the memorial during a time when cultural projects have been limited by this ongoing pandemic.”

Activist, poet, and author Brandon Lacy Campos, speaking at a 2012 Civil Liberties and Public Policy Conference at Hampshire College, seen in “Speeches,” episode one of “A Time to Listen.”NYC AIDS Memorial

Those who prefer to experience virtual offerings can tune in to “A Time to Listen,” the New York City AIDS Memorial’s new online series featuring six episodes related to the epidemic. The episodes — which have rolled out throughout the month of November — include oral history, news clips, and old footage of dance songs.

The first episode has speeches by longtime activist and journalist Ann Northrop and journalist, educator, and activist Kenyon Farrow, while the second episode features New York Transgender Advocacy Group co-founder and executive director Kiara St. James and activist Jason Walker.

The third installment welcomes writer and public health advocate Stephen Hicks, DJ Danny Krivit, and GMHC’s Krishna Stone, who received a Gay City News Impact Award earlier this year.

The fourth episode brings together Cheri, activist Cecilia Gentili of Transgender Equity Consulting, and Jennifer Brier, who heads up the Gender and Women’s Studies program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Also in “Speeches,” Jose de Marco from ACT UP Philadelphia speaking in Washington on World AIDS Day 2016, the same day the NYC AIDS Memorial was dedicated in Greenwich Village.NYC AIDS Memorial

In the fifth episode, writer, organizer, and artist Theodore Kerr joins playwright Donja R. Love and performer Sheldon Raymore. Kerr also served as a creative consultant for “Hear Me.”

The final episode, focused on storytelling, is hosted by journalist Mathew Rodriguez and also includes writers Alysia Abbott and Timothy DuWhite.

Watch the episodes at https://atimetolisten.org/.

This article was first published in our affiliate publication, Gay City News.