10 I came to give life with joy and abundance. John 10:10 The Voice
Many moons after the first cases of HIV a group of artists gathered in New York City to discuss a project for Visual Aids, a New York arts organization that raises HIV awareness. They came up with an idea that has become a first, worldwide recognized symbol – the red ribbon – worn to signify awareness and support for people living with HIV. This ribbon symbol inspired later versions such as the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. The artists were also encouraged by the yellow ribbons tied on trees to denote support for the military service members fighting in the Gulf War.
Far beyond the same gender loving community, HIV is a larger issue among the opposite gender loving community. That is to say, there is a greater probability among heterosexual senior citizens and African American women who are contracting HIV. HIV is no longer an exclusively ‘gay person’s’ disease. Wearing the red ribbon is one way of raising our awareness that HIV is preventable and merits as much visibility as wearing the yellow ribbon and the pink ribbon.
In the United Church of Christ (UCC) bulletin, used by churches across the nation, Rev. Mike Schuenemyer, Director of the UCC’s HIV and AIDS Network (UCAN) writes: “December 1st is World AIDS Day – an annual event held to unit people worldwide in the fight against HIV, support people living with HIV and commemorate those who have died. The world lost an inspirational advocate for people living with AIDS earlier this year with the death of Oliver Wendell Martin III….” He was “a dear friend and an amazing leader. His relentless passion for justice and vision for a church and world fully engaged in HIV response lit up many a room. He [Oliver] knew how to bring diverse people together and his war spirit set people at ease to deal with difficult questions…often going above and beyond the call. We will do well to draw inspiration from the witness of his life, so faithfully and generously lived….On December 1st, make it a point to learn some facts about HIV and then put your knowledge into action. Do it in memory of Oliver.” And, please wear your red ribbon.
Please pray for American and Coalition soul’s killed-in-action,
their families and, especially their children.