Dustin Kight

No HIV/AIDS Vigil for the October March?

Filed By Dustin Kight | August 27, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Bay Area Reporter, Cleve Jones, HIV/AIDS, National Equality March, seth hemmelgarn, Washington D.C.

Seth Hemmelgarn at the Bay Area Reporter is reporting that organizers of the National March for Equality have dropped a vigil for people living with HIV/AIDS:

It appears that a vigil for people living with HIV/AIDS will not be part of October's National March for Equality, as one of the lead organizers told the Bay Area Reporter that no agency could be found to spearhead the event.

When he first called for a march on Washington, D.C. this spring, longtime gay and AIDS activist Cleve Jones told the B.A.R. that march organizers were trying to get use of the Lincoln Memorial site for an HIV/AIDS action on Saturday, October 10, the day before the march. Jones, who is HIV-positive and founded the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, has long been outspoken on HIV/AIDS issues.

But those plans have apparently fallen through.

Kip Williams, who has been helping Jones with organizing the equality march, said this week that the AIDS vigil had to be canceled.

"There were a number of organizations considering taking the lead," Williams wrote in an e-mail. "In the end, no one had the resources or capacity to step up."

There's a lot more about the march in the article.

Seriously? Of the hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations, agencies and activist groups that exist around the country, none were willing to step up and organize? If folks have more detail on this, I'd love to hear more. In the meantime, I'll refrain from throwing in my two cents about why I didn't like this march from the beginning, and why I still haven't found enough compelling reasons to get on board with it except it's on its way.

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I don't know. Maybe someone will put one together in time for the March, maybe not. I hope someone does!

Seriously? Of the hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations, agencies and activist groups that exist around the country, none were willing to step up and organize

This, I think, is the crux of the situation. HIV/AIDS groups are now complaining that there won't be a vigil, but none would step forward to organize one. It's like smacking someone for not doing something you didn't want them to do...

Mark Fischer | August 30, 2009 12:57 AM

Why do organizers of the National March for Equality have to "farm out" the HIV/AIDS Vigil to another organization?

Are they "farming out" DADT repeal to a separate organization?

Are they "farming out" ENDA to a separate organization?

Are they "farming out" DOMA" repeal to a separate organization?

I suspect not!


David Mariner | August 30, 2009 1:25 AM

Lets be honest.

The National Equality March blaming HIV/AIDS organizations for the fact that THEY can't follow through on THEIR OWN stated goals for their event is ridiculous.

The HIV/AIDS organizations they are blaming never committed to doing this. The March organizers, however, clearly did.

Further, it is an indication of how this event is being organized and the type of blame-game we can expect to see in the future when there are more short-comings.

I sincerely doubt a single HIV/AIDS organization was consulted before Cleve announced plans for this rally (let alone the hundreds that exist). Why would an HIV/AIDS group stick it's neck out to help now when they've had no input on the key decisions about where to march, why to march, how to march, and when to march?

There are some who are arguing we need to support this event simply because it will be on C-span and we can't afford for it to not be a success.

I don't buy it.

The Executive Committee of the March apologized for their mis-statement to the press on this. Planning is ongoing as AIDS organizations are assessing our capacity for what type of event we could independently fundraise and plan for on this quick time frame.

If we have an event on the Ellipse, we need to have funds for sound, porta-potties, etc... so many of us are eager to see what we can do but have real-world constraints...

It's certainly not a matter of us not stepping up. We've been stepping the hell up in many many ways for many years and will continue to do so in the ways that are priorities for people living with HIV and their allies. check out www.preventionjustice.org for some examples...

Gay Activist | September 5, 2009 8:30 PM

Bil Browning is of course working to organize an HIV/AIDS vigil and march? Or just complaining that no one else is? Remind me, how does blogging win queer liberation? Guess this just means us real activists have to worker to build what you're trying to tear down.