Twenty-five years ago a small group of San Francisco residents representing a community devastated by the AIDS epidemic gathered in a dilapidated grove in Golden Gate Park to restore it and create a serene place where people seeking healing could gather to express their collective grief through a living memorial, an AIDS memorial.
On Sept. 17, hundreds of supporters, volunteers and community leaders came together in “the grove” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of what is now the National AIDS Memorial.
“Twenty-five years ago our
community was ravaged by AIDS and we came together here in this grove to heal and remember our lost friends and loved ones,” said Jack Porter, a 25-year volunteer who lost his partner Stephen Marcus to AIDS. He was honored with the “Heart of the Grove” award for his years of dedication and service.
“Today, this memorial has evolved into a national treasure for our entire country to remember, seek comfort and ensure that we always keep their memory alive in our hearts,” Porter said.
The city of San Francisco was an early supporter and advocate
for the memorial, approving a plan in 1991 to restore a part of Golden Gate Park – the de Laveaga Dell – to create and maintain the 10-acre memorial.
Guided by the SF Recreation and Park Department, a team of prominent architects, landscape architects and designers, along with a committee of volunteers, dedicated countless hours to creating a landscape plan that would be fitting as a timeless, living memorial. That work led to the groundbreaking and first community volunteer work day for the AIDS Memorial, on Sept. 21, 1991.
“Of the 1,000 acres in Golden Gate Park, the 10 that make up the National AIDS Memorial are perhaps its most significant and certainly some of its most beautiful,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the SF Recreation and Park Department.
Ginsburg helped unveil a boulder in the grove honoring the city of San Francisco.
“We are honored to be a partner in helping honor the lives of loved ones lost to AIDS by creating a place where people can build hope from despair,” he said.
Categories: Richmond Review