I was talking about this to my friend, Michael Sugar, this morning as we drove over the hill to attend a church service here on Pride Sunday in Los Angeles. Michael is a very nice Jewish boy who invited me to go with him. It would be his first time attending a Christian service and the reason he was attending was because of an email.
Everyone who lives in, or has been in, Hollywood knows this church because they were among the first Christian congregations to take an active part in helping, supporting and advocating for people with AIDS. And, aside from the many programs they established, they did something extraordinary. They erected a gigantic red ribbon and put it on their tower overlooking Hollywood. For many people with AIDS, this has been like a beacon saying, “Forget the Jerry Falwells and the gay haters. We are here for you. We support you. We love you.”
I’ve driven past many, many times over the years and have always felt grateful to you for expressing your support for people with HIV/AIDS in such a public and visible manner.
In an era when many people believe AIDS has gone away, that red ribbon is still there. It’s very meaningful to me. I see it as a tribute to all the friends I’ve lost as well as a reminder of the challenges that many of us still confront every single day. Whenever I drive through Hollywood, I look up and am pleased to see the ribbon is still there.
I was diagnosed with HIV in the early years of the pandemic and I’m very aware of how fortunate or lucky or blessed I am to still be reasonably healthy. In the decades since my diagnosis, I’ve lost the majority of my family of friends.
His letter was just as much an act of love on his part to them as all their work had been to others. But the plain fact of it is that you never know the real effect when you do something for others in a loving and selfless way.
I felt so proud of him that he took the time to tell them thank you.
Read the June 11, 2006 blog entry at Sometimes It’s Enough To Say Thank You. by Steve Schalchlin and Michael Sugar ~ on Steve’s Living in the Bonus Round blog.