AIDS Crisis In Rochester: A Community Responds

March 19, 2022 – 9am – 5pm

The 2022 Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues (AMRD) – AIDS Crisis In Rochester: A Community Responds – will be held on Saturday, March 19, from 9 am – 5 pm.  

The AMRD is sponsored by the Out Alliance in partnership with the Rochester Public Library, Memorial Art Gallery, and the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester with support from ImageOut and faculties of the Rochester Institute of Technology and SUNY Brockport.   

The 2022 AMRD will present a unique opportunity for attendees to journey through the AIDs Crisis from 1981 to present from a  global and local perspectives. Our day begins with a keynote address by Jackson Davidow, PhD, writer, researcher, and educator whose work examines the relationship between art, health, and politics. Davidow’s keynote talk, “History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture, is part of research for a book project titled, “Viral Visions: Art, Activism, and Epidemiology in the Global AIDS Pandemic.”  A panel follows in which AIDS archival collections will be used to develop a series of interactive community-building dialogues on the local longitudinal response to the epidemic from a PWA’s (People With AIDS) and grassroots organization perspective. The panel discussion will focus on individual stories about the epidemic’s beginning, response to initial diagnosis, testing, and how changes in social services, treatment, reimbursement, and AIDS stigma have impacted their lives. 

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Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster

 March 6 – June 19, 2022

The 2022 AMRD in collaboration with the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) and the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester will take place during the Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster Exhibit, being held from March 6 – June 19, 2022.   Following a MAG sponsored lunch, Jessica Lacher Feldman, curator of the AIDS Education Poster Collection (do we want to say something about the tours/film loops) , and Donald Albrecht, curator of the exhibition, will speak about the Up Against the Wall Exhibit.  Tours of the exhibit will be followed by a large group reflection on the exhibit, keynote, and panel.  Short video snippets of local AIDS history will also be available for viewing.

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The 2022 AMRD, a day-long event on Saturday, March 19 at the Memorial Art Gallery, will end with an AIDS Recognition Celebration in which local leaders in the crisis including Sue Cowell (founding member of AIDS Rochester), Drs. Steve Scheibel and Bill Valenti (began the first AIDS clinic, Community Health Network, outside a hospital setting in Rochester), and Gary English (began MOCHA, Men of Color Health Association), will be presented with the Shoulders To Stand On Triangle Award for their response to the AIDS crisis.  Each AIDS organization, agency, and group will also be honored with a certificate of recognition and will have their names engraved on the AIDS Crisis Recognition Plaque 1981 – Present, to reside permanently at the Main Branch of the Rochester Public Library.

Expanded Rainbow Dialogues Program

March 19 – June 14, 2022

The 2022 AMRD day program will extended into an Expanded Rainbow Dialogues Program (ERDP) which will include four unknown history sharing educational/cultural dialogues to be held at the Rochester Public Library as well as a tour of the AIDS Memorial Garden at Highland Park, Rochester, NY in the late Spring. Expanded Rainbow Dialogue Program with interactive panel discussions to consider and discuss through personal experiences and anecdotes the following significant AIDS crisis topics affecting the local response to the AIDS crisis not addressed in the day long program. The Expanded Rainbow Dialogues Program will include:

  • Denial, Fear, and the Continuing Stigma: AIDs Rochester and CHN Respond
  • Soft and Hard Activism: HPA and ACT OUT
  • AIDS on Minority Communities: ABC, Baden Street, PRYD, and MOCHA Respond
  • Inequities of the Epidemic: Research/Health Care, and the Ryan White Care Act
  • Special Tour of Rochester’s AIDS Memorial Garden

The Expanded Rainbow Dialogues Program will be held during the 4 months of the exhibit at the Rochester Public Library on Wednesday evenings and at the AIDS Memorial Garden at Highland Park, NY in early June. The AIDS Remembrance Garden is a living gift to the community and an honorarium to those who have been impacted by the AIDS Crisis. Jim Bridges, designer of the AIDS Memorial Garden, Rev. Paul Walker, past chair of GRAIN (the organization spearheading the drive to create a garden of memories at Highland Park, Rochester, NY where friends, families and organizations could donate plants, trees, bushes, and benches in honor of their loved ones who had died), and Kevin Indovino, caretaker of the Garden for many years, will share their personal connection to the Garden. The tour will include a firsthand look at copies of pages from the Book of Life in which is recorded the names of plants and in whose memory the plants were donated.

The Expanded Rainbow Dialogues Program will provide the community with more time to dialogue about issues and community response to the AIDS Crisis. Through the ERDP and the AIDS Memorial Garden Tour, the AMRD will be able to share information on an unknown and undocumented AIDS history and current progress in the AIDS epidemic. The ERDP will increase the opportunity for the community to learn, understand, and be challenged to think and change their attitudes, behavior, and get involved. Repetition is important in creating change. The AMRD will provide that opportunity through its ERDP including the AIDS Memorial Garden Tour.

See Expanded Rainbow Dialogues Program for dates, time, and location.

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The Rainbow Dialogues is a series of community building conversations demonstrating how LGBTQ history and archival documents from the past are relevant for people today. The Dialogues will reference and contextualize LGBTQ life in Rochester against the backdrop of local and national social justice issues.

The Out Alliance Shoulders to Stand On Program’s 8th Initiative, the Rainbow Dialogues is
presented by the Out Alliance in partnership with the Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division (RPL), the Friends and Foundation of the Rochester Public Library(FFRPL), ImageOut, Rochester’s globally recognized LGBTQ Film Festival, The College at Brockport, WXXI and community volunteers.

We have received funding from the LGBT Fund of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the NYS Humanities, the Friends and Foundation of the Rochester Public Library, and financial support from individuals in the community.

To all those who have helped in any way to make the Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues a success, Shoulders to Stand On, the Out Alliance and its partners THANK YOU for your
support. Your continued support will ensure the Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues continues
to make the LGBTQ history of Rochester visible and relevant.

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