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AIDS2012 Day Three: The March to End AIDS!

It’s difficult sometimes, writing about an event that so easily lends itself to images and sound. Such is the case with the AIDS2012 March to End AIDS, the subject of today’s video blog episode from the conference.

The people included in the video can speak for themselves, and quite eloquently. Maybe it was the emotions of the event — anger, nervousness, pride — but it was an exhausting day. I felt the residue of grief for lost friends in a way I haven’t experienced in years.

Just before the various HIV/AIDS marching groups convened in front of the White House, my camera person (Tina Robles of HealthCentral) and I had lunch a few blocks away. I realized that she’s in her twenties and no one who lived through AIDS in the 1980’s had ever described for her what those years were like. I told her about the foxhole mentality, the guest rooms that became makeshift hospices, and the pure horror of waiting to be the next to go.

“Well…” she asked softly, after listening to my tales, “how can you possibly keep such a positive attitude after going through all that?”

“Because my joy is an enormous ‘Fuck You’ to AIDS,” I said. And it’s only in that moment that I realized how right that seemed, and that my departed friends would approve — and would be cheering me on during the protest.

Tina had never been to any kind of street demonstration, and was bravely filming our antics at the front of the massive line of protesters at the front fence of the White House. But, bless her heart, when the cops came out in force and demanded that we retreat, Tina handed me the camera and wished me luck and took safety in the park across the street. I don’t blame her. The crowd was edgy and the adrenaline was pumping.

This is my favorite episode of my AIDS2012 coverage so far, and I hope you will enjoy it and share it with others.

Thanks, and please be well.





  1. The Subversive Librarian July 26, 2012 at 11:00 am

    What a wonderful post, Mark. I watched it more than once just so I could take it all in. Kudos to Tina for stepping out of her comfort zone, and to you for diving into the melee.

  2. Dana Diamond July 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

    WOW!! Hair raising, thanks for taking your time and doing this for those of us in the fight, who stayed home to fight 🙂

  3. Charles July 26, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Thank you for taking me there! Glad you were there for Lesley, Emil and Ron—and so many (too many) others no longer with us.

  4. Kathleen July 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Thank you for braving the return of the memories and continuing to keep AIDS visible, and real for a new generation. Our friends lost may be different, but I was there, in The Castro, and our experiences will be similar. Great diary. Sharing. All The Best To You.

  5. margaret July 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    good job Tom it was good watching wat is happening.as for Tina dat was de best she cud again being de first time.gud job keep up

  6. Jeff Coulter July 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    You are so fucking fabulous. It’s an honor to know you. The video made me giggle, I recognized friends, and made me cry. You rock!

  7. Kolleen Bouchane July 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Mark! It was great to meet you! This was beautiful. I loved your joy and sense of humor. Keep the blogs coming – stories and solidarity is the fuel we need!

  8. Sean Strub July 26, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    If this series doesn’t win an award I’ll be shocked, these are really amazing. And thanks for the nice shot of me and Robert at 2:30 in this one. Is that a make-up for showing me yawning in the other one?

  9. Bobby July 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Simply fabulous! Wow!!!

  10. Sue July 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Very touching

  11. cliffwms44 July 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I am still telling folks about my experience in Washington DC. Meeting folks from all over the world. Finding out what resource are available to folks in other parts of the world. It was fabulous
    great work. 🙂

  12. Jonathan G August 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Missed that march, as I was still exhausted from Sunday’s march. Now I feel I was there. Thank you.

  13. Julie C September 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Powerful! Thank you so much for all of the excellent work you do. Your insightful and witty observations are both motivational and inspiring. I look forward to youre next post!!

  14. Raquel October 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Hi…late last year I was ‘let go’ from an agency that I helped build almost 20 year ago. In February of this year I was fortunate to have been offered a job at AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC). I’m their current Syringe Exchange Coordinator.

    My point here, however is to share my appreciation for what you’re doing, and for my agency providing an opportunity for approximately 100 our clients to participate in the END AIDS March, with me as one of the ‘marshals’ I waited quite a while to post this and to see the video, but am glad that I had the opportunity to do so. Peace and Blessings!

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