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2023 World AIDS Day

FAM Update from the Board Chair, 2023 Q4

Dear FAM Supporters:

Happy New Year and I hope your 2024 is off to a great start.


I wanted to give you a further update on the construction process for the Monument.

As noted in our Q3 2023 newsletter, the architecture firm LPA finalized the engineered drawings and final construction documents for the Monument.  The City of West Hollywood used those drawings and documents to create a Request for Proposal (RFP) which sought bids from firms to fabricate the Traces.

Multiple qualifying bids were received late last year and the City, in consultation with FAM, is in the process of making the final selection of the winning bid, after which a contract will be signed.

FAM and the City staff working on the Monument will present the construction documents to the City’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission for approval later this month.

As previously noted, City staff is working on a new RFP seeking a General Contractor to manage the fabrication and installation of the Monument. We expect that RFP to be sent out in the first couple months of 2024 so that the General Contractor can be selected and hired in April 2024 (slightly delayed from the estimated schedule explained in my Q3 2023 letter).

Construction of the Monument is estimated to take 10–14 months after hiring the General Contractor, which means the Monument would be completed by early-to-mid 2025, matching the estimated date of completion in prior updates.



In addition to overseeing the hiring of contractors for the Monument, FAM continues to gather stories (which are housed on our website and will be available to visitors of the Monument) and to produce storytelling events.


We are very proud to announce that in the last quarter, we reached the milestone of 100 audio stories on our website!

To date, we have a total of 103 audio stories, and many more are in process. Many thanks to The AIDS Memorial on Instagram for providing dozens of stories for FAM to adapt into audio stories. Thanks also to John Lavin for generously contributing his sound editing skills and to Karen Eyres for posting them on our website.

You’ll find six (6) new stories on the website:

  • Brice LaBarthe’s memories from Toulouse, France, of his first love who died of AIDS (Brice’s story first appeared on The AIDS Memorial on Instagram);
  • Actor Judd Hirsch’s reading of the story of the first infant who died of AIDS in New York City and was buried on Hart Island along with many unidentified, unmarked AIDS deaths (this story first appeared on The AIDS Memorial on Instagram); and
  • Actress Kathryn Danielle Hirsch’s recording about Morgan McDonald, a patient with AIDS who, against his will, was discharged from a Gainesville, Florida hospital and flown to San Francisco, where he was dumped in front of an AIDS charity.

Social Media update

We posted six (6) new videos on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook:

  • Scarlett Cannon’s memories of her late friend Leigh Bowery, the one-of-a-kind performance artist and fashion legend (this story first appeared on The AIDS Monument on Instagram);
  • A short video from our World AIDS Day commemoration in partnership with APLA Health and the City of West Hollywood (more about this event below).

STORIES Circles update

On November 7, 2023, we held our ninth successful STORIES Circle series event focused on Women’s HIV/AIDS Stories.  It was held at the beautiful Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Hollywood.

Featured speaker Mary Fisher fell ill just prior to the event, so FAM Board Member Dr. Irene Kim kindly read Mary’s speech.  We also heard the emotional story of Patsy Lawson, a mother with HIV who lost an infant to AIDS and whose daughter is HIV positive.

Supporting organizations included: APLA Health, Being Alive, TransLatin@ Coalition, Black Women Wellness, LA LGBT Center, and the AMAAD Institute. Our STORIES Circle series is funded in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.  Our website contains a short and a longer video from this event.

World AIDS Day

On December 1, 2023, we partnered with APLA Health and the City of West Hollywood for the annual commemoration of World AIDS Day.

This year was the 35th annual World AIDS Day.  The night began with a food and drinks reception at the “Respite Desk” at the top of the Grand Staircase at the Aquatic & Recreation Center overlooking West Hollywood Park.  Our featured speakers were West Hollywood City Council Member John Heilman and Brenda Freiberg, past Board Chair for APLA Health and Trevor Project.

Following the reception, we marched in a candlelight vigil through the Park and around the block, concluding at the Council Chambers (see photos by Alex Wolvec below, courtesy of the City of West Hollywood).

The evening ended with a screening of the documentary Commitment to Life about the founding and important work of APLA and Los Angeles-area AIDS activism, fundraising, caregiving and organizing.  Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath and Craig Bowers of APLA Health spoke to the audience prior to the film.

A video from the event is available here.

Thanks as always for your interest in STORIES: The AIDS Monument.  Your support is so appreciated!