The Conception of The London AIDS Memorial
” It’s not only gay men that are affected by HIV/AIDS and World AIDS Day – all genders and sexualities in every country run risk of exposure to the virus that 25 years on still has no cure. UK HIV Health Charities repeat the message of manageable disease in funky campaigns while the ones who passed before us are simply forgotten in the rush to promote living with HIV rather than those dying or have died of AIDS worldwide “.
I was thinking this a few minutes into WORLD AIDS DAY – Tuesday December 1st 2009 and put up on my Facebook Status : London needs a permanent AIDS memorial where we can gather to remember the ones who succumbed, dying bravely, defiantly and with no knowledge of the battle ahead. A space for flowers, notes and memories for all the days that we remember. We owe it to them.
Two minutes later on Facebook Gary Henshaw of KU BARS London replied : Yes we should start a campaign . . . 100% backing from me. I followed up with : Thanks Gary – something needs to be here for World Gay Pride LONDON 2012.
So we became ” ball rollers ” and that’s all we are, just instigators not creators – the initial core group will do that - THE LONDON AIDS MEMORIAL CAMPAIGN TEAM. Yes Gary & I are part of the history but we all work together as a team, but my job was to find and collate the best team possible for the job. The fire was in the belly and a forceful surge quickly created a Facebook group. I facebooked Gary ” you are the first officer “. He agreed.
This was the conception of THE LONDON AIDS MEMORIAL. We owe it to them.
By Thursday December 3 2009 we had attracted over 1000 members with our vision, plus offers of help, experienced support and practical advice. Wall posts and Discussions boards built daily including various IN MEMORIAM pages.
London certainly bore the brunt and the impact of HIV/AIDS greater than Manchester or Brighton but we thank them for their actions & inspiration, as well as support for our vision.
We will never forget them, and we need to remember that our egos will kill spirit faster than AIDS, so we must work together, leaving ego and past tussles at the door.
This is just the beginning of our journey. Wish us well.
David Parker & Gary Henshaw
November 2010 : over 5,000 Facebook group members