D.A.P. to mark December 1st as World AIDS Day both on-campus and at Camelot Theatres
PALM SPRINGS, CA, November 9, 2015 – Is an end to AIDS really in our near future? David Brinkman, CEO of Desert AIDS Project, thinks so, after returning earlier this week from Washington, DC where he had been invited to share the success of Get Tested Coachella Valley, as the nation's first-ever, region-wide HIV testing and access-to-care initiative.
Brinkman was a featured presenter of the Fast Track Cities Initiative & National HIV/AIDS Strategy Technical Consultation, held on the grounds of the White House and hosted by the Office on National AIDS Policy (ONAP) and the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) to focus attention on the “90-90-90 targets” – 90% of people living with HIV who know their status, 90% of those who know their HIV-positive status being on treatment, and 90% of people on HIV treatment having suppressed viral loads.
“At D.A.P., we have always believed in that wonderful attitude I remember seeing years ago as a bumper sticker – ‘Think globally, act locally' – because if we all do our part to help end the AIDS pandemic in our own communities while sharing what we've each learned, we're going to get ahead of it,” said Brinkman. “After being in Washington with so many amazing people who are dedicated to ending HIV infection, I really believe the end is in sight.”
No doubt, Brinkman will have more to say on the subject on World AIDS Day, which has been marked around the world on December 1st since 1988. D.A.P. will be marking the day with a rededication of the beautiful “Ribbon of Hope” – a red-glass-and-copper-wire sculpture that used to hang on the front of their building at 1695 N. Sunrise Way in Palm Springs. Created by the “artner” team of Linda and Charlie Perkins and funded by the City of Palm Springs, the sculpture is perhaps most unique because the red glass it contains was donated through a red-glass collection drive in which D.A.P. reached out to its clients, staff, volunteers, and donors to contribute bits of red glass.
“Each bit of red glass marked a story of someone whose life had been lost to AIDS and their friend or loved one saw this gift as an almost-living memorial to them,” said Rick Pantele, who was instrumental in bringing the artwork to Desert AIDS Project and saw to proper restoration of the sculpture by the Perkins artner team. But Pantele didn't stop there because he and his business partner personally donated the lighted display case where the Ribbon of Hope will now hang in the main hallway of D.A.P., right next to the entrance to its medical clinic where they serve more than 2600 clients. “Six years ago, in 2009, that wonderful human rights and AIDS activist Morgan Fairchild was at the sculpture's dedication and spoke so movingly about her activism and her personal experiences of being with Rock Hudson in his final months before he died of AIDS. I know she'd be happy to know that the Ribbon of Hope – and all it represents – will once again be in a visible location where it can inspire others.”
As a man living with HIV for many years, Pantele sees the sculpture as a message of inspiration and encouragement in the form of fine art and love that clients will see whenever they visit Desert AIDS Project. A three-time non-Hodgkins survivor who had a recent bone marrow transplant at UCLA, Pantele feels blessed every day of his life – the last 24 living with HIV.
In addition to the sculpture's rededication ceremony, D.A.P. will have activities for clients throughout the day, including two showings of the documentary, “Desert Migration,” which features several D.A.P. clients and others living with HIV in Palm Springs. Many of them thought they'd been handed a death sentence 20 to 30 years ago and came to the desert to live their final days – but instead are aging in a community that has embraced them. Desert AIDS Project provided financial and promotional support in helping to get the film made by producer Marc Smolowicz and director Daniel Cardone. The film will be a part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival and had a pre-festival benefit premiere here at the Camelot Theatre on Thursday, November 5.
On the evening of Tuesday, December 1st, D.A.P. will host its 2nd Annual Everyday Heroes event at the Camelot Theatres, to honor the volunteer efforts of “everyday people doing extraordinary things” for the clients of Desert AIDS Project. As an evening of heartwarming stories of people who might not cross the stage of a black-tie gala – but are highly deserving of accolades nonetheless, the evening begins with a champagne reception at 5:30. The awards program and entertainment by Nita Whitaker will begin at 6:30, followed by a cocktail reception with hors d'oeuvres, compliments of Lulu California Bistro . Tickets are available online at desertAIDSproject.org.
This year's Everyday Heroes include Bella Da Ball , local icon, social ambassador, and supporter of many local nonprofits; Kenny Jervis & Michael Crisp , who live both locally and in Las Vegas where they own a popular nightclub and have raised significant sums for D.A.P. through popular parties; Margie Lobley , a long-time volunteer with D.A.P., including 20 years of service at D.A.P.'s monthly Farmers Market through the Linsky Food Depot where clients receive fresh produce and other items to help stretch their food budget; and Nicholas Snow , D.A.P. client and long-time HIV activist, author, and journalist who is marking World AIDS Day by providing a free, worldwide e-book download of his Life Positive: A Journey to the Center of My Heart at www.NicholasSnow.com.
“We hope to see lots of our supporters at the Camelot, to help us honor these wonderful people,” continued Brinkman, “And although I expect the agency will be crowded earlier in the day with clients enjoying lots of activities that we have planned for them, I think this World AIDS Day is going to be different from any of them that have come before. This will be a day about looking back to remember those we've lost while looking ahead to a future that has never seemed brighter when it comes to the possibility of a world with AIDS.”
"Reproduced with permission - Desert AIDS Project "
Desert AIDS Project
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