Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day - December 1st

Emanuel Xavier, from New York City, is a performance poet and queer activist/educator whom I met in Austin several years ago. He reposted the following poem on his bloga (yes, we Latino/Chicanos have decided that blogs are female) recently, and I thought to share it now with you--as a way to commemorate World AIDS Day 2007.


I search for laughter
down an empty Christopher Street
remembering innocent smiles
with every used condom
every vial
of crack
never looking back

but all the sisters are dying
all the legends are dead
our sanctuary closed
always living on the edge

Children floating by
on the Hudson
love is the message
still lingering
in their vacant eyes

Winds call out my name
but I will not listen
I will stay behind

© 1997 by Emanuel Xavier for Pier Queen Productions.
Taken from the poetry collection, Pier Queen.

(photo credit - by Greg Wharton)

I find it very interesting--and definitely disappointing--that many folks here in N. Texas aren't aware that December First is World AIDS Day. In Austin, the conceptual/performance artist Sally Jacques created the tradition of organizing "Body Count", a sobering and amazing interactive ritual that involved hundreds of people. The public was invited to lie on their backs, along the Great Walk (wide sidewalk leading to the front steps of the State Capitol), with flashlights directed below their faces. It was an eerily beautiful sight, but it was also mournful because these lit-up faces were suggestive of the numbers of people who have died from AIDS.

from the AVERT website:

"According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2007 some 2.5 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.

Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is not just about raising money, but also about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done."

A few days ago, I was at the FWCAC (Fort Worth Community Arts Center), and Marla Owen--business manager--shared with me some information about an upcoming, month-long "arts intervention" that is scheduled to happen from:

May 10 - June 8, 2008

From the save-the-date postcard:

"During the upcoming More Life Festival, more than 20
arts and science organizations will focus their energies
and talents on programs that increase the awareness
and knowledge of AIDS in our community."

I'm considering how I myself--along with some possible collaborators--might get involved with this month-long festival next May. (And you can get more info too by visiting the MORE LIFE website.)

I'll close off by sharing some lyrics from a Michael Franti/Spearhead song I've been listening to lately:

"...and how am I going to live my life if I'm positive, is it gonna be a negative? how am I going to live my life?"

live well/be safe!

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