On Saturday 1st December, Freshwinds staff attended an evening event at mac, Birmingham in Cannon Hill Park to mark World AIDS day – the international day of remembrance to commemorate the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS. It was an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those living with HIV and the advances in treatment; educate ourselves with the facts about HIV transmission, testing, treatments & to challenge the stigma; and reflect on the lives affected by HIV, remembering those loved and lost both locally and globally.
The theme in Birmingham this year was ‘Make your Mark’ and encouraged people to think about what World AIDS means to them in 2012. Attendees were invited to get involved by creating personalised patches to be joined together as a quilt for display. Dozens of individuals and groups took part, including some of our own volunteers (see Shella and Sneha’s patches in the gallery below).
The event started with a candlelit procession through the park to the band stand, where time was given for those wishing to speak, read out poetry and to remember those we have loved and lost. The procession continued silently to the lake where floating lanterns were released, despite the water having frozen. The evening finished with a concert of music, dance and poetry by local artists.
The event was particularly special for Freshwinds staff as we saw our CEO, Mohammed Al-Rahim receive an award for HIV Sector Outstanding Contribution. Mohammed is Co-Chair of the Birmingham HIV Partnership and has been involved in the sector for over 20 years. Read more about his involvement here.