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Ribbons for World AIDS Day

Trees in Vancouver’s West End will be adorned with oversized red ribbons for World AIDS day this year, after city council unanimously approved a motion from Councillor Tim Stevenson, Nov 16.

“It’s to help the awareness and to indicate that the city is behind the campaign,” Stevenson says.

Stevenson says he’s pleased with the reception the motion received.

So is AIDS Vancouver, who approached Stevenson with the request in the first place. “The mayor and council were determined to collaborate and accommodate our motion, despite the very challenging short timeframe,” says AIDS Vancouver executive director William Booth.

“HIV and AIDS is a global challenge, but it must be confronted on a local level,” Booth says. “The mayor and council understood that and took action. The large ribbons are an oversized interpretation of the traditional tiny ribbons worn on the lapel to remind people of the ongoing fight against AIDS.”

Volunteers from AIDS Vancouver and other groups will be hang the ribbons on the trees in time for World AIDS Day.

Stevenson says it’s fitting that Vancouver should be at the forefront of such a campaign now that Dr Julio Montaner, from BC’s Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, is the incoming president of the International AIDS Society.

Stevenson had hoped council would also agree to hang a large red ribbon from the city hall tower for the week leading up to World AIDS Day, but that item was dropped from the original motion due to the logistics of finding and mounting such a ribbon on short notice. “I think it’s a wonderful symbol,” Stevenson says, “but this came really late in the day.” He says he’ll make the request again next year.

City hall will host its own World AIDS event Nov 30 at 5 pm, and the mayor and all councilors will wear red scarves Dec 1.