Backers of an effort to erect an AIDS monument at 50 United Nations Plaza near San Francisco City Hall have failed to secure city funding for the project.
As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a May 31 article, organizers were seeking $100,000 in funds from the city’s community challenge grant program. The monument idea is meant to honor participants of a decade-long AIDS vigil that took place in the public plaza in front of the federal building at the site.
Last June the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution authorizing the creation and placement of a plaque there to commemorate the ARC/AIDS Vigil, (seen in photo at right) ARC standing for AIDS Related Complex. Two HIV positive men launched the sleep-in, which took place at the mid-Market Street plaza from 1985 through 1995, to protest government inaction toward the deadly disease.
The action involved thousands of demonstrators over the course of its 10 years and is believed to have been the longest continuously-held AIDS protest in the country. A video about the vigil produced by a local cable show can be viewed on Youtube.
Due to the historical significance of the vigil, the initial plaque idea morphed into building a larger AIDS monument.
The AIDS Housing Alliance committed to raising $25,000 and applied for the city funds through the grant program. But the funding for greening and beautification improvements is extremely competitive with numerous local groups with proposed projects vying for the money.
Based on a press lease Mayor Ed Lee’s office released today (Thursday, July 5), the AIDS monument was not among the 28 projects picked to share in the $832,600 being doled out this year. Brian Basinger, executive director of the AIDS Housing Alliance, did not immediately return a call seeking comment this afternoon.
Despite the funding setback, the ARC/AIDS Vigil’s history will be brought to a wider audience this summer. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ new show called “Occupy Bay Area” will feature several photos of the AIDS protest. It opens Saturday, July 7 in the SOMA museum space and runs through September 16.