World AIDS Day Service
Sunday worship services highlight the AIDS Memorial Quilt and include a time to honor the lives lost and those affected by HIV and AIDS. Sunday, November 30, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the sanctuary of Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, 2025 W. 11th Street, resurrectionmcc.org.
Advent Study on HIV/AIDS
During Advent (November 30–December 24), Bering Memorial United Methodist Church includes an emphasis on HIV/AIDS. Sunday services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. address how HIV is impacted by stigma, poverty, incarceration, and gender-based violence. Sundays, November 30–December 21, Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, 1440 Harold, beringumc.org.
Observance and Tree of Remembrance
Harris Health System hosts its annual observance of World AIDS Day at Thomas Street Health Center. The event’s traditional “Tree of Remembrance” allows visitors to place ornaments in memory of loved ones lost to the disease. Additionally, the public is invited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Thomas Street Health Center, the nation’s first freestanding HIV/AIDS facility that has served patients through the years with compassion, dedication, and expertise. December 1, begins at 10 a.m. at 2015 Thomas Street.
World AIDS Day Luncheon
The 2014 World AIDS Day Luncheon co-chairs, Dominique Sachse and David Chaumette, as well as the honorary chair, Travis Torrence, invite you to Houston’s annual luncheon in remembrance of those we have lost and in honor of those who continue working to end new infections. Senator Rodney Ellis will be honored with the Shelby Hodge Vision Award. December 1, Westin Galleria Ballroom. Details: aidshelp.org/WorldAIDSDay.
Every Life a Light: Candlelight Prayer Service
A simple, open prayer service in a contemplative style to honor those we have lost and those who are affected by HIV and AIDS. This prayer service is a free event and is open to persons of all spiritual paths. December 1, noon–1 p.m. in the sanctuary of Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, 2025 W. 11th Street, resurrectionmcc.org.
AIDS Memorial Quilt Display
A personal, meditative space with the AIDS Memorial Quilt is provided on December 1, from 1:00–6:30 p.m., in the sanctuary of Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, 2025 W. 11th Street, resurrectionmcc.org.
Legacy, the Montrose Center, and the City of Houston hold a candlelight observance on December 1 at 5:30 p.m., starting at Legacy Community Health Services,
1415 California Street, and walking around the block.
This free screening of HBO’s The Normal Heart, written by Larry Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy, is presented by the Montrose Center and co-sponsored by Legacy Community Health Services and the City of Houston. December 1, 7 p.m., the Montrose Center, 401 Branard.
‘The Last One: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt’
Cleve Jones, the founder of the NAMES Project Foundation, has spent nearly 30 years sewing together a quilt. With over 48,000 panels, he yearns to finish it. But this is no ordinary quilt. Each handmade panel represents a life lost to AIDS—an individual with a unique personality and story. The quilt will not be finished until AIDS is eradicated once and for all.
The Last One tells the story of the AIDS Memorial Quilt from conception to its current travels across the nation. The quilt, which is housed by the NAMES Project Foundation, was conceived at the height of the ’80s and ’90s AIDS epidemic as “a weapon against not only the disease but the cruelty and bigotry that the disease exposed,” Jones says. But more than that, it symbolizes passing family love down through generations and “not throwing anything away, that everything is useful,” he says.
Through archival footage, interviews with individuals who have dedicated their lives to the quilt, and personal testimony from those affected by HIV, The Last One explores the politics and stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. Even though gay men represent only 15 percent of the world’s HIV transmissions, the historical perception that HIV/AIDS is a “gay disease” has had a lasting effect on how the virus is treated and talked about. When such homophobia is at play, it not only negatively affects those who are LGBT-identified and HIV positive, but erases visibility for communities that are heavily impacted by HIV, such as the African-American community and women.
The Last One is a reminder that the fight against HIV and AIDS is far from over, as infection rates continue to steadily increase each year. And until that fight is over, the AIDS Memorial Quilt will always have a missing piece—the final panel that reads “The Last One.”
The Last One airs on December 1 at 7:30 p.m. (CST) on Showtime (sho.com). —Megan Smith