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News & Opinions
World AIDS Day Marked With Reading of
Names, Eucharist at Grace
The names of those
listed in the AIDS Chapel Book of Remembrance echoed through Grace
Cathedral Dec. 1, marking World AIDS Day 2010 with somber memories,
prayers for those who have died, and hope for those living with
HIV/AIDS. Offered by Grace Cathedral and the Multicultural Roundtable,
our commemoration continued with a Eucharist in the AIDS Chapel.
During the service, excerpts from Larry Kushner's brilliant World AIDS
Day prayer were read by a group of people who reflected the diversity
found in the Multicultural Roundtable and across our diocese. Our second
reading was part of the "Stations of the Cross In A Time of AIDS"
written by the Rev. Jerald G. Miner while he served as rector of Christ
Church in New Haven, CT. Fr. Miner was among the Episcopal priests to
publicly acknowledge he was HIV positive.
The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus preached and presided. The Rev. Tom Jackson
served as deacon, Dan Burner was sub deacon. Jackson and Burner joined
the Rev. Vince Jang and Br. Tikhon Pethoud in reading the names of the
AIDS Chapel Book of Remembrance. Eric Metoyer and the Revs. Connie Lam,
Vanessa Glass and John Rawlson joined in the readings. Special thanks to
Grace Cathedral's staff for their help with presenting these World AIDS
Day events. Also:
It was unusually cold that morning, even for the normally mild weather
It had rained the night before, so the pavement in front of 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue was wet as well as being cold. ... There was a
strange tension in the air. Something ominous.
Hearing hissing and boos from the crowd, I looked up and saw several
police distributing among themselves plastic gloves and thick plastic
ties - like large trash bag ties - which would be used to handcuff us.
It was the plastic gloves that had elicited the response from the
crowd. Yes, some of us were HIV positive. Some were visibly sick
with AIDS. We knew that AIDS could not be transmitted by human touch. We
hadn't considered that violence might erupt and blood might be shed.
The tension began so thick, I feared that our Peaceful Demonstration of
Civil Disobedience might, indeed, become violent. Just when my anxiety
level was starting to kick in the "flight or fight" effect in my brain,
and I was conscious that I was making a decision about which it would
be, something happened that broke the tension.
One of the
Radical Faeries - a street theater group - began to skip among the
bodies on the street, sprinkling fairy dust on us while taunting the
police: "They'll see you on the news. Your gloves don't match
your shoes." The protesters began to giggle. That Radical
Faerie was soon joined by other Radical Faeries who pranced among us,
sprinkling glittery fairy dust as others began to outline our bodies in
white chalk. Everyone had picked up the chant, "They'll see you on the
news. Your gloves don't match your shoes," as they laughed and giggled.
It was irresistible. Even some of the police began to laugh.
Well, it was miraculous, was what it was. The tension broke and were
were all back to 'civil' part of the disobedience and the 'peaceful'
part of the assembly.
Read all of Mother Elizabeth Keaton's remarkable posting at her blog
Despite Progress, Lack of Insurance
Deadly Problem In HIV/AIDS Epidemic
projections that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection rates are
increasing in some populations, former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett
Koop -- who charted the nation's policies on HIV/AIDS following the
first deaths from AIDS in 1981 -- today issued a stern warning to the
public health community: HIV/AIDS continues to be a major epidemic and
requires a national mobilization to identify and provide immediate care
for many Americans with HIV who remain undiagnosed -- an estimated
Mobilizing the public health community around HIV prevention and early
detection is especially warranted now that HIV infections among gay and
bisexual men are on the rise and HIV has become a significant minority
Presenting an update on the state of HIV/AIDS in the U.S., Dr. Kevin
Fenton, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention,
- Men who
have sex with men (MSM) represent 53 percent of all new infections
and are being diagnosed at rates 44 times greater than other men and
40 times higher than in women
Americans now account for almost half of the U.S. population living
with HIV (46 percent) and nearly half (45 percent) of the new
infections each year
Hispanics/Latinos have rates of new infections that more than double
that of white men and nearly four times that of white women.
Full report here. For updates on HIV/AIDS please sign up for our
World AIDS Day