The offices of HIV Ireland were the meeting place last night for a public meeting organised to discuss proposals for an AIDS memorial.
Led by activist and founder of GCN, Tonie Walsh, the discussion group consisted of a variety of people from the LGBT+ community working in the area of HIV and AIDS activism. There were representatives from groups such as HIV Ireland, Positive Now, Act Up, GCN and Irish Queer Archive amongst others.
A public meeting to discuss proposals for an #IrishAIDSMemorial will take place at 7pm on Wed 1st August at the offices of @HIV_Ireland. All welcome. @tonie_walsh has set up a FB page where you can follow proposals for the memorial. https://t.co/erX1zfx0bE #HIV #AIDS #History pic.twitter.com/k9eJKkIcVX
— HIV Ireland (@HIV_Ireland) July 18, 2018
There was also acknowledgement of individuals who were unable to attend and whose voices and community representation are vital in ensuring the memorial speaks for all those who have been affected by the AIDS crisis, such as intravenous drug users, working classes communities and people with haemophilia.
Issues discussed included the necessity for a national monument which speaks to everyone affected while referencing the current reality of the crisis today. One of the most important points agreed upon was the creation of an AIDS memorial which allows people affected a place and space to grieve. So many of those lost to AIDS left behind loved ones whose grief was stifled by shame and stigma.
There will be a consultation meeting about building an Irish AIDS Memorial at 7pm on Wednesday — 70 Eccles Street, D7. Looking forward to attending and supporting those ambitious about moving this fitting and worthwhile project forward. @aidsmemory @HIV_Ireland pic.twitter.com/wGOQ1aXACl
— Fintan Warfield (@fintanwarfield) July 30, 2018
Suggestions for a green space or living memorial were raised, with Tonie Walsh giving examples of other AIDS memorials across the world to draw influence from. Visibility and recognition of losses suffered would be key components in any eventual design. Also raised was the need for digitisation of archival materials to enable learning for new generations in the areas of education and activism.
The group recognised that in order to move the conversation to the next stage, widespread support for the memorial was necessary. With that in mind, the consultation process now moves to Cork and Belfast, with dates to be announced soon.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.