World AIDS Day 2008
Photos: Courtesy World Aids Day
Story by Olga Bas
Today, December 1st 2008 marks the 20th Anniversary of World AIDS Day. It's the day for individuals and organizations from all around the world to join together in the fight against the AIDS epidemic. Each country, each city chooses its own unique way to commemorate the day and here we have only a taste of the global events that will take place over the next two weeks.
In Montreal, Canada, the United Against AIDS Concert will be the main event. Presented by Aldo Fights AIDS in support of UNICEF and Unite for Children, the concert is to take place on November 28th at the Bell Center. Among the big names, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan (both Canadian natives) will be performing and the event will be hosted by Ben Mulroney. South of the border in New York City the Housing Works initiative is preparing for its 14th annual "Reading of the Names" Vigil. Starting midnight December 1st in City Hall Park, volunteers in groups of five will read out names of those who have lost their lives to the disease. Lasting 24 hours, the Vigil will do its part in the battle against AIDS and apathy.
The citizens of Brussels, Belgium will begin the day with classical recitals, jazz concerts and performances from some of Belgium's favorite artists at the Place de la Monnaie. As the day progresses hundreds of marchers will take to the streets accompanied by drum beats, torches and a huge red ribbon -- the international symbol of AIDS awareness. In London, England the Diversity Chamber Choir and the London Gay Symphony Orchestra will be performing Mozart's "Requiem" at St. Martin's in the Field. The event will act as a fundraiser for The Food Chain, a charity that provides hot meals to those living with HIV in London.
In Africa, undoubtedly one of the places hit hardest by the epidemic, Cape Town will be marking World AIDS Day 2008 with a celebration at St. George's Cathedral featuring educational videos, stalls and on-site HIV testing. There will be a service at 1pm with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba speaking and author Clive Fox will share his story.