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“HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug.”
— Princess Diana

STORIES: The AIDS Monument in West Hollywood, California:
Remembers those we lost, those who survived, the protests and vigils, the caregivers
Celebrates those who step up when others step away
Educates future generations through lessons learned

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STORIES

Explore the STORIES

Behind every statistic of the AIDS epidemic are thousands of people whose stories continue to teach and inspire.
Explore the stories by clicking on the words.

Community Stigma Love Compassion Sacrifice Loss Pain Pride Courage Shame Hope Injustice Despair Dedication Suffering Artistry Family Friendship Helplessness Leadership Activism Devastation Fear Legacy Caregiving Isolation Inspiration Resilience Strength

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“I am coming out as a woman with AIDS because a lot of lesbians still think that they cannot get AIDS and I’m here to say that this can and did happen.”
"My mom always talked about the incredible smile Manolo had. I like to think he looks down and smiles at a whole new generation that are living their lives loud and proud and open...”
“I am grateful for how hard to she fought to live long enough to help me grow into the almost woman I was when she died. I will miss her forever.”
“Each moment I spent in the creative space with Howard Ashman remains with me every day of my life.”
“This is my tribute to those who were alone. They had no friends and no family. I miss all of you and I continue to remember you and love you.”
“My grandmother was a woman beyond her years.”
“Jaime was the only man I ever fell in love with. He was insanely beautiful, inside and out.”
“I think back to the scared little boy who met Peter and now know you can’t ever be too much of yourself. Peter taught me that.”
“I got here for Lawrence. He wanted me to thrive, not just survive. But as I came away I thought of something else. I didn’t get here by forgetting. I came here by way of remembering too.”
“This was the first infant to die from AIDS in NYC.”
“Does it really matter what disease you contracted or what you died of OR how pure your heart is and how deep you loved? They deserve respect and honor and I give them that till we meet again my angels. Love Big and Love Deep.”
”Assotto Saint was a poet, publisher and performance artist who died of AIDS in New York City. He was 36 years old.“
“Burke, who played for the Dodgers and Athletics, was the first and only MLB player to come out as gay during his career and the first to acknowledge it publicly.”
”There was never any question in my mind about leaving the man I loved because of a test result or its ramifications. At that moment, Rick was healthy and we were happy. Love doesnʼt end based on a test result.”
”I loved him for his passion and authenticity and I remember him for his deep love for queer people everywhere, especially those living with HIV.“
“Mark not only shaped my adolescence, he shaped my ministry because I vowed to welcome all in the Church and celebrate that all — especially those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender -- are created in God's image because my friend, Mark, was created in God's image!”
“Existence is a circle. Death sweeps the person back from where he came. Death is not an end.”
“My intention in presenting these works is to provoke my community into action.”
“I really miss Demian desperately and I also miss dancing the Bill T. Jones master work, “D-Man in the Waters”. It was a tribute to Demian and to so many of the other people we lost.”
“Every young man in ballet for future generations will be indebted to the mark that Rudolf Nureyev made on the art form. He has shaped the way we will craft our art forever.”
“She was dying of a terminal illness, already a year into her death march.”
”I never told my mom I was gay and she did not know. Lying there in my “deathbed,” I believed my mom would abandon me. She did not.”
“My Uncle told me that there was no shame in who I was, that yes, life will be hard but that it’s okay to be who I am. To stand tall as a gay man.”
“In our extremely privileged community the stigma is more dangerous than the disease. We still have a lot of fighting to do for the people who don’t have the privilege of cost effective medication.”
“We must honor all these brave men and women. We must never forget they were here.”
”I am here and I am present and I am fully awake. And I love my life and I am married to the greatest human on the planet and I have spirits around me that bathe me in light.”
“My dad was in the hospital on the brink of death when we discovered he'd been living a double life for 27 of the 37 years he'd been married to my mom and that he was infected with AIDS. Three weeks later, we found out he’d infected my mother.”
“He was Tanya Ransom, a drag queen. He was Michael Norman, an artist, educator and playwright. And he was a patient. And he was my father.”
"If I didn't play any song that reminded anyone of AIDS, there would be no music to be played.”
“We were all walking on thin ice.”

Special thanks to @TheAIDSMemorial on Instagram for preserving the legacy of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with stories of love, loss and remembrance. @TheAIDSMemorial #whatisrememberedlives

STORIES:
The AIDS Monument

The land for this Monument was donated by the City of West Hollywood where, during the height of the crisis, 1981-1996, the City suffered a devastating toll, losing thousands of its residents to the plague.

As of 2020, AIDS has killed approximately 725,000 people in the United States, more than all of the Americans who died in World Wars I and II combined.

Globally, through the end of 2019, AIDS has killed over 32.7 million people.

The Monument will be located on San Vincente Blvd., just north of the West Hollywood Library, and across from the Pacific Design Center.

The AIDS epidemic
is not over.

Tens of thousands of Americans are infected with HIV each year, and many still die of AIDS. Stigma against those with HIV persists. Income inequality and the lack of equal access to health care remain the greatest obstacles to life-saving treatment for the most vulnerable Americans.

This Monument reminds us to never forget our history and inspires us to continue to fight for equal access to quality health care, for expanded civil rights, and for a cure.

Photo courtesy of Donald Ragland