02 December 2011

Illness is No Joke

Ironically enough, on the day where I am to participate in a wonderful Holiday Bazaar for Liberty Community Service (the Elm City based housing organization that I've been working with), excited and ready to share some custom made reciclaGEM pieces, tea rings and T*Cup Art tea napkins, I find myself in the Emergency Room of Harlem Hospital.

Ironically enough, the day that I am to participate in an event created to support a new Winter Brunch program for New Haven residents who have to deal with illness, homelessness, and physical and emotional pain on a daily, I find myself coming to terms with the limits of my own threshold.

Background on the event: LSC invited reciclaGEM and a number of New Haven and New York based brands to participate in a lovely evening reception with wine, hors d'oeuvres, entertainment and a silent auction held at the New Haven Museum, an institution founded almost 150 years ago by New Haven residents who wanted to preserve elements of their community for fear of their legacy being destroyed during the Civil War. Talk about the integration of the city's colonial history with the city's contemporary social reality. Within the walls of an institution built on the importance of remembrance, Liberty has chosen to remind the city's patrons to keep in mind its client and the cause for which World AIDS Day was created in the first place.

The silent auction took place this evening from 5-7pm, and the rest of the Holiday Bazaar, open to the public, will take place tomorrow from 10am until 3pm. This is your moment for supporting both independent retailers and artists, as well as, more importantly, providing brunches and meals for New Haven residents in need this Winter.

While I am saddened that reciclaGEM was unable to be there this evening, the bright lights of Harlem Hospital's ceiling brought something in perspective. While my illness was and remains very temporary, while I am by no means on my death bed, I could only imagine what it must be like to for someone, without family, friends, or a home, living with HIV and or AIDS, feeling pains too excruciating that it interferes with his/her desire to live, must feel like every day. While there are plenty of women and men who continue to live with HIV and AIDS, especially now and who continue to be inspirations in the way they live such full and beautiful lives, a life with HIV and AIDS is by no means an easy road to live. It also re-awakened a painful vision of my very own aunt, L.P, whom I watched spend her final hours fighting the painful deterioration of her body due from AIDS.

That is why supporting Liberty Community Services and other organizations that are in support of people and activities that affirm and support their livelihood is essential! World AIDS Day is not a day, not a weekend, but a conscious reality that all of us should strive to keep in mind anytime we are feeling not our best. It is a conscious reminder to ourselves to use our talents and our artistry for life affirming activities that support not only our families but our fellow humans.

reciclaGEM will be working on a second VIHDA Means Life collection, to be showcased on June 10, 2012 (save the date and stay tuned for more details). I have a newfound perspective on this collection. And I am thankful for today for reaffirming that awareness.

Events that you can support this weekend:
Project Holiday-Liberty Community's Services' Holiday Bazaar in support of their Winter Brunch Program. Saturday Dec. 3. 10-3pm. New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511)

Many Women, One Voice: African American Women and HIV: Video Premeire and Community Discussion. Sunday Dec. 4, 2-4pm. Abyssinian Baptist Church (132 Odell Clark Place / 138th between Lenox and Adam Clayton Powell BLVD, New York).

Thank you for reading :)

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