The National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco commemorated World AIDS Day with two special events this past weekend, including a reading of the names engraved into the Circle of Friends memorial on Sunday.
Supporters of the grove, community leaders and dignitaries gathered at the events to remember the lives lost to the pandemic, honor leaders instrumental in the fight against AIDS, and offer a message of hope for the future.
“More than 22 years ago, when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was at its worst in San Francisco, volunteers gathered to form the Grove, seeking out a place to create a setting where those impacted by AIDS could both grieve and begin the process of healing,” said Executive Director John Cunningham. “On World AIDS Day we gather to not only remember the friends and loved ones we’ve lost but to honor leaders who have worked tirelessly in the fight against AIDS.”
The observance took place in the grove’s meadow on Sunday, where hundreds took part in ceremonies to reinforce the link between the San Francisco community’s historical significance in the epidemic and the National AIDS Memorial Grove as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world, organizers said.
During the “Light in the Grove” ceremony on Saturday, much of the grove’s seven acres were illuminated to honor the sense of loss and celebrate the spirit of those whose lives were lost.