. . . and I’m honoured to be the Education Advisor for the London Aids Memorial Campaign. I am a full-time congregational Rabbi and Director of Education for a Progressive synagogue in London and I’m also a member of Rainbow Rabbis. I feel that the LAM Campaign is one of the most important causes that I can support this coming year. I know that it is important for individuals to articulate their motivations – so here are mine:
1) HIV is pandemic! At the same time it is no longer as visible in the Western World, so it is, on the whole, greatly overlooked. For both the global pandemic and the more local tragedy, past and present, to not be ignored or stigmatised it needs to be brought back into the public eye – we need a focal point to remind and educate Londoners about the ongoing HIV crisis.
2) The LGBT community is a disparate one; in times of threat and in times of tragedy we unite, but we rarely rally together. This long overdue Memorial will not only offer us a place to remember our loved ones, but also a centralised public space to gather and a visual focus for an annual national ceremony on Dec 1.
I am a little too young to have been on the ‘scene’ during the early years of the AIDS crisis, but as an active and visible member of the LAM Campaign I can help to demonstrate and promote that what we are creating is not just a much-needed memorial to a terrible tragedy, but is a vital reminder of an ongoing problem that effects the next and future generations.
3) Whilst training to become a Rabbi my Pastoral Placement was at a London AIDS hospice – it profoundly affected me. I have since used these experiences in sermons, during education sessions with teenagers and I am an active supporter of JAT (formerly the Jewish AIDS Trust). As an educator I want to see the LAM that we build developing into a location from which we can further educate about HIV and AIDS.
As we’ve been working on launching the Campaign we have had various ideas for how we might advance the educational element of the Memorial, including commissioning the LAM Big Red Bus. There are already so many excellent HIV and AIDS charities and educational organisations that we want to champion and bring onboard (quite literally, if the Bus idea ever rolls).
I have ideas and I’m sure you do as well, so if you’re interested in helping me launch the educational component of this Campaign then please drop me an email (email@example.com).
We owe it to them!