Light in the Grove
On the eve of World AIDS Day, more than 500 supporters of the Grove gathered for the “Light in the Grove” event, a special evening of remembrance, renewal and commitment for loved ones lost to AIDS. Much of the Grove’s 7.5 acres were illuminated to honor both the sense of loss and celebrate the spirit of light and life. Guests experienced a candlelight reflection at the Circle of Friends and the Grove was dramatically illuminated with an evocative candle installation among the inscribed boulders and with light sculptures. Live entertainment included a classical cello accompaniment by Dan Reiter from the Oakland Symphony, classical harp selections by Natalie Cox and moving contemporary dance pieces by Copious Dance Theater amid the Redwood trees.
The event honored Ambassador James Hormel with the Light in the Grove Award for his tireless dedication, philanthropic commitment and decades of inspirational leadership. Hormel, who more than two decades ago helped create the AIDS Memorial Grove, has long stood as both a philanthropic and courageous leader, devoted to improving the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS in San Francisco and nationwide. To see photos from Light in the Grove, please click the following links:
World AIDS Day
On December first, World AIDS Day, former President Bill Clinton was awarded with the Grove’s National Leadership Award during the Grove’s 18th annual World AIDS Day observance. The event took place in the Grove’s meadow with more than 600 people gathered for ceremonies that reinforced the link between the San Francisco community’s historical significance in the epidemic and the National AIDS Memorial Grove as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world.
President Clinton was praised for bringing much needed attention and action to the fight against HIV/AIDS. During his presidency, funding for domestic AIDS-related programs (Ryan White CARE Act) increased significantly and he was a leader in developing international initiatives to search for a vaccine. In 1996, President Clinton designated the National AIDS Memorial Grove as the nation’s only memorial to lives touched by AIDS. After leaving the White House, he established the William J. Clinton Foundation and also created the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative that among other leadership roles assists over 4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in accessing lifesaving drugs.
The Staff of Wards 5A, 5B and 86 of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center were also awarded The Grove’s Local Unsung Hero Award for nearly three decades of providing state-of-the art, compassionate, and patient-centered care for individuals living with HIV disease and AIDS. The delivery of HIV/AIDS care and treatment created at Wards 5A, 5B and 86 has been replicated the world over, touted as the centerpiece of the “San Francisco Model.”
Mayor Lee presented the Grove’s “Local Unsung Hero Award” to the Wards’ staff members, who exemplify highly skilled and deeply compassionate patient-centered care for HIV/AIDS patients. “Today, we come together as a community to honor our friends and loved ones who we lost to AIDS,” said Mayor Lee. “It is because of the hard work and courage of so many gathered here today that we have this beautiful National AIDS Memorial Grove as a place of healing. Thank you for your tireless efforts to provide care, treatment and support for those in need and for this important place of reflection. San Francisco remains a leader committed to finding a cure and supporting those living with HIV/AIDS.”
Dignitaries from throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, gathered to mark World AIDS Day at the Grove with President Clinton addressing attendees via a taped video message and letters being read on behalf of President Barack Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown. Following the formal ceremony, attendees gathered for the reading of the names of loved ones lost whose names are engraved into the Circle of Friends this year.
The Grove also officially unveiled and reactivated the newly restored 100 year-old Victorian waterfall in Golden Gate Park. The “Falls” is a project dedicated to the memory of Frances McCormick, a beloved member of the community. The restoration of the waterfall marks a significant new addition to the Grove and symbolizes a renewed sense of peace and healing in the Memorial. The Falls restoration project, a partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, is located in the western end of the Grove in the Circle of Peace and is the culmination of a long awaited goal of returning water to the memorial.
To see photos from World AIDS Day, please click the following link:
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