Winter 2019 Update from the Executive Director

Tony Valenzuela

Dear Friends,

December marks the season of giving and Emmy-winner, Jane Lynch, has a special message to share on the importance of supporting STORIES: The AIDS Monument. Click here to watch.

For World AIDS Day, the Alliance for Housing and Healing organized a beautiful candlelight vigil that marched quietly down Santa Monica Boulevard to the future site of STORIES: The AIDS Monument where the City of West Hollywood held the Paul Stark Warrior Awards. I was among the speakers at that event and was able to share some exciting news. The directors of five U.S. based AIDS memorials (STORIES, the New York City AIDS Memorial, Seattle’s AIDS Memorial Pathway, San Francisco’s AIDS Memorial Grove, and LA’s The Wall Las Memorias) convened in San Francisco this past October and officially launched the Collaborative of AIDS Memorial Sites, the first national coalition of AIDS Memorials that will work in collaboration to support each other’s efforts, share ideas, enact programs, and extend our educational reach beyond our local cities. We’ll have much more to share about our emerging collaborative in the future.

I also attended the ONE Archive Foundation’s opening of We Will Be Heard: A Retrospective on AIDS, 1981-2019, a series of timeline panels chronicling AIDS mobilization in LA and nationally. I urge you to attend the retrospective, up only through December 15th, to learn more about our community’s inspirational history.

The final World AIDS Day related event I attended was Still Beginning: The 30th Annual Day With(Out) Art, presented by  New York City-based Visual AIDS at MOCA downtown LA. The series of short films commissioned by Visual AIDS and produced by filmmakers responding to the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, beautifully illustrated the epidemic’s impact on our community’s past and present day. The films were intimate, moving, funny, and illuminating how HIV/AIDS still profoundly affects us in unexpected ways. The films are available for viewing on Visual AIDS Vimeo page.

Continue to read our newsletter for a review of past programs, upcoming events, this month’s profile in leadership featuring Board Treasurer, Craig Dougherty, and ways to support STORIES: The AIDS Monument through your year-end giving.

Happy Holidays!

Tony Valenzuela
Executive Director