Stop Aids. Keep the Promise: Leadership

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I’m not too sure what to do with this one. My ignorance remains on the fence, with anger on one side and resolve on the other.

First of all, I didn’t even know 1 December was World Aids Day. No clue. I learned about it as many others did: online or on the evening news. 12/1 has been World Aids Day since 1988, when their theme was Communication. Now, the Conference has selected the general theme for 2005 to 2010 to be Stop Aids. Keep the Promise, with a sub-theme cited for each year. This year, the sub-theme is Leadership.

I guess what really rocked me yesterday was not the fact that it was World Aids Day and I didn’t even know it; it was the film I saw on the evening news. In Baltimore/DC, there were special memorial services held for all local AIDS victims, and their names were read at the ceremony by three volunteers. The camera panned, left to right, as the volunteers read the names in the blustery winds. It indeed seemed very solemn and moving.

That is, until the camera zoomed out for a wide-angle shot, revealing not a single person in attendance. Not one person sat in the clay-gray folding chairs set up in front of the three podiums.

All empty.

And yet, the reading of the names continued, somberly as ever, names of loved ones falling through the air and hitting the cold, barren pavement among the empty chairs.

I’m not sure if the media editor chose to leave that shot in to dramatize the significance of the zero-attendance situation, but it made the event look just horrible.

I wonder how others perceived that segment when they watched it. Were you as outraged as I was?

I’ve had too many friends and members of my family die as a result of AIDS, so maybe I need to take the Leadership charge that’s been placed before me and do something meaningful with it. I think that I’ve been one of the masses who have swept this one under the rug, for some seemingly unknown reason.

I’m going to do my research, and then use my writing, here and elsewhere, to provide a little leadership to others, whether it be for awareness, action, or otherwise. I’m also going to remember some pretty good advice a friend long ago told me about the significance of “fill-in-the-blank Days,” where the world pulls together for one day and feels good for another 364 because they did something on that day. Every day should be AIDS Day, or Bay Day, or Earth Day, or Whatever Day. We hold these annual events as reminders, with the hope that individuals will use that symbolic day as a kickoff for action.

Today, I’m one of those individuals.

So, share with me your thoughts. Did you know that yesterday was World AIDS Day? And if you did, was there anything you did to signify the day’s importance?

2 thoughts on “Stop Aids. Keep the Promise: Leadership

  1. I didn’t know, but it doesn’t surprise me. Right or wrong I live a much more insulated life than one would think considering how much time I spend at a computer. I am not nor have ever been a fan of the news and so I don’t really seek this kind of stuff out. Had I known I honestly have to say that I probably wouldn’t have done anything different simply because I am neck deep in my own isolated world of pain which is called trying to do my job and raise a bunch of children…er, employees…to do the right thing. I’m probably coming off sounding like a jerk when the reality is that I am just trying to share the way I am and where I am at regarding world events and my own responsibilities, etc.


  2. I guess what I was trying to get across is that people need to be socially conscious and care about their fellow man and the ills of the world, but at the same time I don’t think we should beat ourselves up about it. We cannot be involved in every cause out there, but we can show compassion and care to those around us in whatever battles they are fighting. I’ve had friends lost to AIDS, had a client commit suicide years ago because of being HIV+, and have met others that I really like who are battling the disease and I certainly care about them and want their to be a cure. I could say that about many, many diseases and illnesses. I just cannot take on every cause there is. The responsible thing for me is to do what I can when I can do it, to be willing to go out of my way and be available to help, and, again, to love those who are in my sphere of influence.


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