2021 World AIDS Day: Grief, Gratitude, Hope

Pride Foundation’s founders knew back in 1985 what we understand deeply to this day—that as LGBTQ+ people, caring for one another and our communities is critical to our very survival.

What brought our founders together was this deep belief in the power of community care, especially in response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic that was devastating our communities.

Today, on World AIDS Day, we reflect back on 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were officially reported. On this important day, as we honor and recognize the impact of AIDS, we do not want to lose sight of the truth that it was the community-led movements of LGBTQ+ activists who fought for the lives of our family and friends when our government did nothing for too long while hundreds of thousands of people died. We also do not want to lose sight of the many incredible members of our community we have lost over these long decades who were beloved friends and family.

Today, while globally we are fighting a different epidemic, there are many lessons we can take from these decades of activism and advocacy. The one that is resonating most with me this World AIDS Day is that caring for one another and our communities means so many things—it means providing food, love, and support when our community members need it. It means taking precautions and prioritizing efforts that keep everyone in our community safe. It means organizing and advocating for systemic level change that will ensure our communities will be able to thrive.

So much has changed over these many long years, and the steadfast advocacy of our community has led to incredible advances that enable people to live longer with HIV, as well as critical prevention options. Despite this important progress, ongoing infections and significant barriers to treatment continue to impact people in every corner of our region, country, and world—and these barriers have only been compounded by COVID-19.

This year’s World AIDS Day theme, Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice, highlights the important truth that HIV and AIDS continues to disproportionately impact Black and Latinx gay and bisexual men and trans women. Our work and our advocacy must continue until everyone in our community has access to the healthcare, resources, and opportunities to they need to survive and thrive.

We are so grateful to work alongside incredible grantee partners across the Northwest, listed below, who are working every day to provide care to people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as critical prevention, education, and advocacy efforts.

Today, we honor these remarkable organizations. We share our gratitude for the Pride Foundation founders who came together nearly four decades ago with such care, hope, and courage. We mourn the loved ones we have lost. We grieve alongside all those who have lost their people. We honor the millions of people across the world who are living with HIV and AIDS.

And we never stop working to end the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Our progress has shown an end is possible, and we will not rest until that is a reality.

Katie Carter is Pride Foundation CEO.

Thank you to these incredible grantee partners across the Northwest who are working every day to provide care to people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as critical prevention, education, and advocacy efforts:

Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (Anchorage, AK)
Centro de Comunidad y Justicia (Boise, ID)
Inland Oasis (Moscow, ID)
NIAC (North Idaho AIDS Coalition) (Coeur D’Alene, ID)
Open Aid Alliance (Missoula, MT)
SAFE Harbor (Ronan, MT)
Western Montana LGBTQ+ Community Center (Missoula, MT)
Bradley Angle (Portland, OR)
CAP – Cascade AIDS Project (Portland, OR)
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (Portland, OR)
HIV Alliance (Eugene, OR)
TransPonder (Eugene, OR)
AHAT Homecare (Tacoma, WA)
Blue Mountain Heart to Heart (Walla Walla, WA)
Entre Hermanos (Seattle, WA)
Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center & The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway (Seattle, WA)
Liberation Medicine School (Seattle, WA)
Medical HxStories (Seattle, WA)
Odyssey Youth Movement (Spokane, WA)
PCAF – Pierce County AIDS Foundation (Tacoma, WA)
Rainbow Center (Tacoma, WA)
Spokane AIDS Network (Spokane, WA)
Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (Burien, WA)
Yakima Pride (Yakima, WA)

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