Friday, June 02, 2006
25th Anniversary
25 years ago Monday the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (a weekly bulletin of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) published the first incidences of what we now know to be AIDS.

When the paper was published I was 10 years old. I had just finished the 5th grade at Sierra Canyon elementary school in Chatsworth. A little more than 10 years later I was working at AIDS Project Los Angeles, meeting some of my best friends and attending some of their funerals.

15 years later we are in such a different place. It’s not that people aren’t dying. They are. It’s just no one I know. It’s no one we know. It is so very far away that we forget about it, we turn away from it. We are so tired of it.

It’s ok to be tired of AIDS. It’s exhausting.

I learned very early on in my social justice career that you can’t fight every fight. You have to choose one and trust that someone else is going to pick up the slack on the others. I have chosen HIV – or rather, HIV, somewhere along the way, chose me. If I can’t trust that others are doing their part, I find it desperately hard to focus on my own part.

Someone will fight for peace in the middle East. It is something I care about deeply.
Someone will be an environmentalist – that’s not to say that I don’t recycle, I just don’t attend rallies. Will I see Al Gore’s new movie? You bet I will! I’m not an ostrich, I’m just focused.
I’m not entirely sure that I should, but the optimist (tiny and weak though she may be) trusts that someone out there is focused on ending the genocide in Darfur. Please?

I used to hear, when I told people what I do, "that must be so hard." It’s not hard, in as much as any challenging job is hard. Just like any other job, it is boring and fun and frustrating and intellectually stimulating, if you are as lucky as I am. Making my life’s work to do tikkun olam (repair the world) is what I have always known I would do. I will always, even if I leave this job, do something to help repair the world.

Here’s to Jeff, Janis, Shane, Frank, David, Michael, Connie, Anthony, Wayne, Jerry, Ron, Joey, Carlos. People I was honored to know, adore and work with over the years. I raise a diet coke to your memories.

Here’s also to Bill, Charlie, Chris, David, Diane, Donna, Drew, Ernie, Francis, Gary, Glenn, Jane, Jeff, Jim, Joe, John, Justin, Kathie, Kristin, Larry, Laura, Margaret, Mark, Marty, Mary Ann, Matt, Michael, Michelle, Peter, Phil, Philip, Richard, Ricky, Ruben, Sal, Shannon, Shawn, Stephan, Steven, Terry, and many, many, many more that encouraged me, that laughed with me, that laughed at me (2 words - suntan pantyhose), that taught me so much, that fought alongside me.

I will retire in about 25 years. The epidemic will be 50 years old. A lot can happen in 25 years. Choose something.


Stumble It!


Blogger goodmamajama said...

You may have worn Suntan Pantyhose, but I wore a flowered dress every day. EVERY day.

I salute you Faith! You are am amazing woman of strength, vision and growth and I am so happy that we met 13 years ago.

You are is our obligation to choose something to fight for and work towards if we occupy even a foot of space on this planet. Things suck for a lot of people....everywhere.

Much love to you and lots of love and respect to the people you remembered in your post and the others we've all lost.

Blogger Rabbi Brian said...

You rock, Faith. Keep up the good work. The world is blessed to have you doing what you do.

Blogger Lori said...

Faith, your post gave me goosebumps. I should take your advice. I tend to do a little bit here for this cause, a bit there for that cause--maybe it's time I get my act together and just go for broke with one thing.

Blogger Allison said...

Talk about a great argument for not spreading yourself too thin and being focused! Wonderfully inspiring post.

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