Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day - 20th Anniversary

This may be a sobering post for 'Cyber Monday', the Black Friday for all of us with on line stores. Many of us woke up this morning ready to get to work; market, promote, sell. I sat down at my computer feeling more curiosity than anything else. I went onto Twitter and started with "Good Morning, What's everyone up to today?" Keep in mind that most of my followers and those I follow are in the craft world as am I. We are generally busy little bees. Today is no different. we are getting our orders ready to post and listing new items in our shops and so forth. Then a tweet came up that caught my eye. "Today is World AIDS Day: STOP AIDS. KEEP THE PROMISE."

First of all, thank you spoons for reminding us that today is so much more than 'Cyber Monday'. It can be so easy to get caught up in our work that we forget to take a breath and focus on the world around us. So that is just what I'm doing. Today is World AIDS Day. The 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day actually. On the first anniversay in 1988, what did you know or think about the AIDS epidemic? How has it touched your life or influenced the way you live? Is it personal for you?

For me, 1988 was the year that I moved to Northern VA, just outside of DC. I was 21 years old, dating and fairly clueless. By the early 1990's I was becoming more aware. I was working for The Body Shop and AIDS Relief was one of the campaigns we worked on. Then it became more personal when I traveled to Romania to volunteer in the orphanages in the northeastern region of the country. Some of these orphanages were completely dedicated to AIDS children. Where I worked, none of the kids had tested positive yet, but there were no guarantees. Among the heartbreaking things I experienced, was children who intentionally cut or wounded themselves for medical attention. Often medical attention was the only kind of special care they received. Daily I was approached by youngsters showing me their bloody scrapes. I would hug them and beg them to be careful and not to hurt themselves.

I have worked side by side with people living with AIDS, I have stuffed envelopes at the Whitman-Walker Clinic. I have viewed every panel of the AIDS Quilt through teary eyes and I have marched on Washington. Today my life is more sheltered. I have children that I'm busy raising and less time to call my own, but today I have made a personal pledge. My pledge is to remember and never forget that the struggle still wages on. I pledge to use my voice to promote awareness and education. We can all do our part. Visit the World AIDS Campaign today and find out what you can do. Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.