“Despite the fact that HIV/AIDS has been around for several decades, one of the biggest challenges is the all pervasive stigma which still continues to keep the issue shrouded in secrecy, ignorance, fear and shame, whether you live in Camaroon or Camden,” said Lennox, HIV Ambassador for London. “An AIDS memorial in the heart of London would set a wonderful example to other cities, and send out a powerful statement to the world, not only by acknowledging those who have been taken in the pandemic, but would also call attention to the fact that HIV/AIDS has not gone away, and is still devastating millions of people’s lives… potentially our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. I wholeheartedly endorse this proposal.”
“I was delighted when Annie suggested becoming an HIV Ambassador for London,” said London mayor Boris Johnson. “Her profile of course is important, for increasing public awareness of this major issue, but of greater importance is her knowledge, her experience and – fundamentally – her dedication and commitment. Our goal is to develop a clear and consistent approach that will make a real difference to Londoners’ lives.”
Organisers plan to establish in London a permanent endowed memorial that provides both physical space and online presence for everyone wishing to honour the memory of those who lost their lives to AIDS, bears testament to our response in the face of adversity, and informs, educates and signposts.
“I am more than happy to express my complete support for the London AIDS Memorial Campaign,” said Stephen Fry. "Thousands of Britons died from AIDS at its deadliest height, I lived through it and lost many friends. Almost no one in Britain during the 80s and 90s has no connection to someone who was taken by that devastating pestilence. Some who died were well known figures, actors, performers, writers, poets, dancers, artists and musicians, but the majority were known only to their families and their circle of friends. Many died in pain and conditions lacking dignity or hope at an age when promise, excitement, fulfilment and adventure should have been their due.
“AIDS changed our country entirely, and HIV remains an infection that blights millions of lives around the planet. It is the most common disease suffered by women of child bearing age in the world, which tells us all we need to know about its continuing reach.
“A London memorial will serve, I believe, not just as a testament to all generations to come of what Britain and the world went through, but also as a fierce reminder that this scourge is far from over. I am sure that the majority of those who were taken from us by the virus would want to such a memorial not just for themselves, but for the future too. It is only right that London, so proud of its cultural influence, its fabulous entertainment, nightlife and its open and diverse attitude of welcome to all who visit and inhabit it, should proudly memorialise the fallen in the war against HIV.
“It is a little shaming to think that, when one looks around the world, London is the most important city on earth not to have such a memorial and I hope that things will speedily come together to allow that to be put right.”
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