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World AIDS Day: Resources for Remembrance and Action

Each year, our community gathers to mark the observance of World AIDS Day on December 1st. This year, the New York City AIDS Memorial is providing an afternoon and evening of free and public programming with partners including Housing Works and Queer Soup Night.

The New York City AIDS Memorial reminds us to remember, reflect, and renew to mark this important date. In our neighborhoods of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo there’s a rich history connected to the AIDS crisis and pandemic, those who suffered from it, and those who battled against it and offered care, support, and compassion. Here are some resources that can help us remember those efforts and continue the mission to eradicate the disease.

Visualizing History

In order to remember, one must have a place to learn about history. The New York City AIDS Memorial is a space where we can gather and be supported by the organization’s thoughtful public programming. We can also gather virtually around resources created to archive the history of the activism and important work done in our neighborhoods and beyond to respond to the AIDS crisis.

For example, ACT UP has two key resources that help us remember the important people, actions, and events that have brought us to this point in the fight against HIV and AIDS. You can view a partial chronology of the organization, which is just one text-based way to get to know the story of ACT UP.

You can also visit ACT UP’s Capsule History, which uses multimedia, news clippings, images, and a text-based timeline to explore the important history of the movement work of ACT UP.

Housing Works also has an interactive timeline and map that allows us to walk through history virtually.

You can also view the organization’s history via their historic map that outlines Housing Works’ locations for various facilities connected to the organization as well as significant related historic sites.

Videotape Archive at NYPL

For those who would like to do some in-person research into the history of activism, the New York Public Library holds the AIDS Activist Videotape Collection,1985-2000. Describing the archive, the New York Public Library states:

“From 1988 to 1993, an explosion of AIDS activist video occurred. Hundreds of videotapes were produced. The vast majority of work was made in New York City, although a significant number of videotapes were also produced in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. In addition, there were videomakers in Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and even Ann Arbor, Michigan and Austin, Texas. More tapes were produced in New York not only because it was epicenter of the disease and the dominant center of activism, but also because there was an infrastructure of support for alternative video. There were art schools and media access centers offering classes and inexpensive access to equipment (NYU, Film/Video Arts, Downtown Community Television), a well-established community of makers, occasional grants and even a graduate program forging a theoretical underpinning for the endeavor (the Whitney Independent Studies Program).”

This unique archive provides insight into the work of activists in their own words and with their own artistic projects. This archive combines historical knowledge with the artistic efforts of those in the midst of the fight. By appointment, one can delve into these videotapes and take advantage of seeing primary resources created here in our neighborhoods and beyond.

Renew Your Commitment To Action

This year on World AIDS Day, take a moment to visit some of these historical archives to remember. Then you can renew your commitment to action to end this disease and its detrimental impact on our communities. Here are just a few ways you can get invovled as well as seek support and resources for testing and treatment.

The LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street offers a number of resources that include public health information and resources that support the organization’s core programs supporting recovery, wellness, family and youth.

Once you learn the history of Housing Works, you may wish to volunteer or get invovled with this organization; you can do so here.

Finally, today is a good day to learn more about the New York City AIDS Memorial. Whether you join with other community members in-person today for the public programming, or just visit the website to learn more, this is an important site in our neighborhood that deserves attention on December 1st and every day in Greenwich Village.

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