This letter did not come easily. It felt a bit delayed to discuss the new year when we’re starting our bimonthly distribution in February. Instead, putting this issue together inspired me with thoughts of community, wellness and healing. Watching an epidemic disease go from a death sentence to a manageable chronic illness that can be prevented over my lifetime has been encouraging. Meeting the people who work hard to make living with HIV or avoiding it altogether their life’s work was nothing short of humbling.
It also filled me with hope and joy to see what people are capable of creating in the darkest of times and how we can patch together a story that is larger than ourselves, like the traveling AIDS quilt that was displayed at the Compass Center for World AIDS Day. Projects like The AIDS Activist Project, a collection of black and white portraits and stories about AIDS activists from around the world taken between 1989 and 1998, are a touching homage to many unsung heroes.
Closer to home, The World AIDS Museum and Education Center in Wilton Manors grew out of the Fort Lauderdale-based Pozitive Attitudes group and became both a place where historical HIV and AIDS exhibits are housed and where people can seek information and support.
We often kick off new years revved up and wanting to change everything for the better. Let’s keep that momentum going and take on the spring with an eye on being well and doing right by our community. With all of the momentous advances we made in 2015, we should not lose sight of what can still be done, always keeping in mind that improvements we make in our personal lives or within our own social circles can have an impact that is profound and far-reaching.
For the remainder of this year I challenge us all to embrace wellness and take care of one another just a little more than we did before. The results may be immeasurable, but we will definitely feel them.
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