November 30, 2004
Housing Works World AIDS Day Vigil, Wednesday, 12/1 at City Hall — from midnight to midnight
For the 11th year, Housing Works will host an epic commemoration of World AIDS Day on Wednesday, December 1st. For 24 hours—from midnight to midnight—thousands of people affected by this epidemic will gather to "Tell the World: People with AIDS are Still Dying." The event will take place at the southern end of City Hall Park and will begin at midnight with a lone reader at a microphone reciting the names of people who have died with AIDS. At dawn, four more readers will gradually join in until five voices are intermingling, suggesting the overwhelming devastation of our communities. There will be press conferences, AIDS education and awareness events, and counseling and testing throughout the day. (Download a form to submit names for World AIDS Day Vigil: doc / pdf.) NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is scheduled to read names at 9:30 am and NYC Comptroller William Thompson is scheduled for 6:00 pm.
NYC Council Speaker Gifford Miller's office is donating morning breakfast. We will be offering Confidential HIV Counseling and Testing throughout the event. We hope you will join us for this opportunity to unite the many organizations and people fighting the AIDS epidemic.
This year's commemoration is especially poignant for us as it will be nearly 8 months after the death of the cofounder of Housing Works and virulent AIDS warrior Keith Cylar. We will also remember the loss of New York City AIDS Housing Network co-founders Joe Bostic and Joe Capestany.
In addition to our "Reading of the Names" Vigil, we are joining other organizations in a march that will culminate in a rally and press conference on the steps and plaza of City Hall. This year the march, the theme of which is Women and Girls: HIV and AIDS” will kick off at 10:30 AM. We will gather on the corner of Broadway and Wall Streets near the "Bull" and march up Broadway, through the canyon of "sheros" to City Hall. The City Hall rally and press conference will begin at noon. At the rally, we expect a wide range of speakers: people with AIDS, their loved one, advocates and service providers, and elected officials.
The 2004 World AIDS Day theme of "Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS" is timely. Black women age 25 to 34 are thirteen times more likely to die with AIDS than their white counterparts. Death rates and rates of new infection for black women have been climbing steadily for the last decade; since 1986, AIDS rates among all women have more than tripled.
Funding for prevention and care services, housing and medical treatment for poor women has failed to keep pace. This year, women living with AIDS and HIV in New York City refuse to keep silent. We will commemorate those we have lost and fight to keep ourselves alive.
We are still without a cure and the epidemic continues to devastate New York City and other places around the globe. We need you ALL to participate in this World AIDS Day event so that we can loudly tell the President, Governor Pataki, and Mayor Bloomberg that the AIDS epidemic continues to infect us, hurt us and kill us! Feel free to invite your friends, family, and colleagues to join us for our 24-hour vigil.
The event will be at the southern tip of City Hall Park at Broadway and Park Place. Take the N or R train to City Hall or the #4, 5, or 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall.
We invite you to join us for a World AIDS Day Commemoration that New Yorkers cannot ignore and will not easily forget. Your organization can be involved in several ways:
- Sponsor: We ask that organizations wishing to co-sponsor the event donate $300 to help defray the costs, commit people to read names for a block of time, and collect names to be read. If possible, we also hope that your organization would invite people to the march and rally/press conference. The names of co-sponsors will appear on the event brochure, and they will receive a commemorative souvenir.
- Endorser: We are asking endorsers to cover a block of reading time and to gather names to be read. If possible, we also hope that your organization would invite people to the march and rally/press conference.
We see the Vigil as an opportunity to unite many organizations and individuals who are fighting the twin epidemics of AIDS and apathy, but we encourage every participating organization to do an independent action as well.
If you or members of your organizations would like to participate by reading names, please call Juanita Chestnut at 212-966-0466, ext. 1120 and she will give you a block of time that can accommodate you and your organization's schedule. Also, please feel free to send a typed or clearly printed list of names that you would like for us to read during the vigil by fax at 212-925-9618 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.