Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pride celebrations in West Hollywood are different in 2021. There are rainbow flags and signs, but nowhere near the hundreds of thousands of visitors that usually crowd the streets.
However, a major event is taking place this year.
Saturday, the “AIDS monument” that will sit right next to the West Hollywood public library will tell the tragic story of the last major pandemic – long before COVID-19, which took a huge toll on the LGBTQ community 40 years ago.
“We suffered from a global pandemic that isn’t over yet. Seven hundred twenty-five thousand Americans have died of AIDS” said Irwin Rappaport, Director of the Foundation for the AIDS monument.
“I was infected in 1980, so my entire life has had the aids pandemic in the background,” says Phill Wilson, Vice-Chair at the foundation.
The monument, says Willson, will tell all the stories of AIDS, including its devastating impact on people of color, like himself.
To this day, he points out that 42 % of new HIV infections happen in the black community, four decades after AIDS first appeared.
Renderings they shared with NBCLA show 15-foot pillars on a 7,000 square foot piece of property.