The post-Thanksgiving rush seems to be upon us. Despite the frenzy, yesterday, December 1, is also World AIDS Day, a commemoration that always makes me pause and reflect. I think of the many men and women that we lost, including so many friends whose lives were cut short. The AIDS pandemic, in fact, shaped my life in many ways and perhaps helped me to see the value in the Village’s mission. In 1988, at the height of the AIDS pandemic, when those living with HIV were stigmatized and many were literally housed separately, I volunteered for what was then Whitman-Walker Clinic. At just 22 years old, it was eye opening for me to see mostly young to middle-aged men, dying, and many without the support of their families. I volunteered first doing maintenance on the houses scattered throughout the city that served as safe havens. After a year or so of interacting with the residents when painting and cleaning, I wanted to do more and help more directly. I became a “hospital buddy” and went each Thursday evening to a nearby hospital to provide companionship. I rarely knew anyone that I was assigned to see. I only had a name and a room number. One evening, I walked into Vincent’s room as he was dying. His mother held his right hand, and I held his left when he took his last breath. It allowed me to see, and perhaps most importantly, feel the value of connecting with others. I didn’t know Vincent before I walked into his hospital room, but the memory of him and that brief, but very important connection has remained in my heart for 35 years. Celebrating Our Community at the Village Holiday Party What attracted me most about the Village movement are the connections that are made among the people involved – among volunteers, members, and supporters. I know that I’ve personally made wonderful friends through the Village, many of whom were my own nearby neighbors that I don’t think I’d have met otherwise. I’ve also grieved, along with you, for those who have passed. As we approach the holiday season, with Hannukah starting next Thursday, I hope that we might reflect on the power of the connections that we made during the year, or the ones that we’d like to make in the next. On Wednesday, December 13th, at 2pm at the Broadmoor (located at 3601 Connecticut Avenue) we’ll celebrate the holidays together with festive desserts, songs, gifts, games, and most importantly, the connections with each other. Who knows, you or the person with whom you interact, might remember that special exchange, many years from now. I hope to see you there.
Quick Look Calendar of Events
For your convenience, here are our December events! Click on the events you're interested in to see more details, register, and to access Zoom links. You can view our full website calendar here.