Hard to believe it's been 25 years since a group of folks gathered in San Francisco to commemorate and remember loved ones who had passed away from AIDS. This small gathering gave birth to the AIDS Quilt, which eventually gave birth to World AIDS Day -- officially observed every December 1.
On Saturday at Hagen Park in Wilton Manors (2020 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, behind City Hall), there will be a candlelight vigil commemorating World AIDS Day. Organizers are expecting around 2,000 people, making this one of the largest gatherings in the country.
Candles will be supplied, and the walk from Hagen Park will commence at 7:30 p.m.
Organizers have asked that participants wear red to signify their support World AIDS Day and those living with HIV/AIDS.
They've also asked local businesses to decorate their windows and storefronts with red fabric and other materials.
The Broward Sheriff's Office has announced that it will have a World AIDS Day fire truck at the Shoppes of Wilton Manors on Wilton Drive, where those who wish to can write and paint messages of support and remembrance on the truck.
Meanwhile, President Obama officially declared December 1 World AIDS Day in a statement released on Thursday:
Today, we reflect on the strides we have taken toward overcoming HIV/AIDS, honor those who have made our progress possible, and keep in our thoughts all those who have known the devastating consequences of this illness.
The road toward an AIDS-free generation is long -- but as we mark this important observance, let us also remember that if we move forward every day with the same passion, persistence, and drive that has brought us this far, we can reach our goal. We can beat this disease. On World AIDS Day, in memory of those no longer with us and in solidarity with all who carry on the fight, let us pledge to make that vision a reality.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 1, 2012, as World AIDS Day.
You can read the entire statement from the president here.
The Wilton Manors organizers ask that participants arrive at the park at 6:30 p.m.