AIDS activists will assemble in at least two Iowa cities today to mark the 22nd annual World AIDS Day. Frank Vaia, project coordinator for the AIDS Project of Central Iowa, says they’ll stage a type of demonstration that’s become popular with tech-savy smart phone users.
Vaia says they’ll be assembling a “flash mob” in the Kaleidoscope Mall in downtown Des Moines at noon. Those who attend will get a t-shirt and a sign to hold up as part of the impromptu event. It shouldn’t take a great deal of time, Vaia says, so people can take part during their lunch hours.
“It’s going to take about a half hour,” he says. “It’s in, make a statement, there’ll be some inspirational music, get your t-shirt, hold your sign up and we’re done.” Flash mobs popped up in several communities around the country recently to sing Christmas carols, events that quickly became widely popular online. Vaia thinks the flash mob will also be an effective tool in getting this message out.
“We think it’s a powerful way to bring the community together in kind of a fun way to make a statement about awareness of HIV and to battle HIV stigma,” he says. “The signs will all talk about ‘Making a Scene for HIV’ and ‘HIV won’t stop me from…’ and every participant gets to fill in that blank and hold up their sign.”
Another event is planned for tonight in Iowa City that includes the screening of two films aimed at raising AIDS awareness. More than 190 countries around the world observe this day. Learn more at: “www.aidsprojectci.org“.
Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City