In commemoration of World AIDS Day, please read these final lines from Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. For the sake of context, it’s important to remember that at the time of the play’s publication and performance, in the early 1990s, AZT and other HIV drugs were just beginning to turn the disease from a death sentence to a condition people could live with. In this closing monologue, the main character, just starting to regain strength, bravely vows to end the shame and silence surrounding the epidemic. Standing at the Bethesda Fountain of New York City’s Central Park, he reflects on the nature of love and loss, life, and death. Though we may be on the brink of discovering a vaccine, the fact remains that over one million people die of HIV/AIDS every year. On World AIDS Day please consider a donation to The Foundation for AIDS, The World Health Organization, Act Up, URJ, RAC, or other organization dedicated to AIDS prevention and research. We can also continue to remind our elected officials that this epidemic still deserves our attention and investment.
An Excerpt From Angels In America
The fountain’s not flowing now, they turn it off in the winter, ice in the pipes. But in the summer, it’s a sight to see. I want to be around to see it, I plan to be. I hope to be.
This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won’t die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come. Bye now. You are fabulous creatures, each and every one. And I bless you: More Life. The Great Work Begins.