(WJBK) - With unprecedented collaboration among metropolitan Detroit community-based organizations, institutions, business and government leaders and national entertainers, World AIDS Day Detroit seeks to revitalize awareness regarding HIV/AIDS and its impact on individuals and communities. World AIDS Day Detroit events will take place at the Garden Theater (3929 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI 48201) from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. December 1.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Ryan White's death. Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of Ryan White, will share her son's story at the World AIDS Day Detroit Giving Breakfast, the annual kickoff event for World AIDS Day Detroit. Starting at 8:00 a.m., Detroit-area Mayors, elected officials, community-based organizations, university and business leaders will collect to hear White-Ginder's keynote speech.
White contracted HIV through tainted blood products used to treat hemophilia and was ostracized by his local community and expelled from school because of his disease. Often touted an 'innocent victim,' White soundly rejected that label because he regarded every person with AIDS as innocent. Through his grace and ultimate celebrity, White educated the nation about AIDS. In 1990, four months after his death, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act to provide access to medicine and treatment for Americans impacted by AIDS. Tickets to the event are $75 and available at www.worldaidsdayus.org.
World AIDS Day Detroit will also host a Symposium at 11:30 a.m. at the Garden Theater, featuring Jeanne White-Ginder and a community forum with AIDS United CEO Michael Kaplan (Michael is speaking at the breakfast). This is a special opportunity for students to participate in World AIDS Day and learn about the power of children though White's inspiring story, as told by his mother. The event is free and open to the public. Schools and students interested in participating contact World AIDS Day Detroit at www.worldaidsdayus.org.
American Idol season-eight winner Kris Allen will headline a benefit concert, including Detroit's own season 13 finalist, Malaya Watson, and performances by American Idols Melinda Doolittle, Rayvon Owen, and Devin Valez. The event will also include remarks from Jeanne White-Ginder and a presentation of the AIDS Quilt. Tickets are $40 with limited VIP available for $85 at www.worldaidsdayus.org. If available, tickets will be $55 at the door.
Launched by Wayne State University School of Medicine medical student Phillip Kucab in 2011, World AIDS Day Detroit is a grassroots campaign to provide a day of reflection, awareness and education. "I am thrilled World AIDS Day Detroit has become the largest fundraiser of its kind in Detroit," Kucab said, when asked about this year's events. "World AIDS Day Detroit provides a platform to stand together, as one community, and commemorate World AIDS Day in a major way. We urge everyone to take part."
Kucab reminds us that HIV and AIDS is still with us: "HIV and AIDS is a big problem and we need to be talking more openly about it," he said. "HIV is 100 percent preventable, yet we are still seeing 50,000 new infections each year. Overall in the United States, one out of 200 people have HIV, but it is three times that rate here in Detroit. One in four people with HIV do not even know they have it. Treatment and care is accessible, yet less than half of the people in and around Detroit who have HIV are being treated. We can do much better than that."
World AIDS Day Detroit is proudly sponsored by the following organizations: Hemophilia Foundations of Michigan, Walgreens, 98.7 AMP Radio, Wayne State School of Medicine, Motivus Health Care, Oakland University, BioRX, Color Me Rad, Between the Lines and Fox 2 Detroit.
For more information, tickets for events, or to make donations, please visit www.worldaidsdayus.org.