C.U.R.E. announces huge AIDS Quilt display for 2011

Display in Plano will be largest in more than a decade, with at least 500 panels included, organizers say

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

TIME TO REMEMBER | Visitors walk through a display of panels from the NAMES Project Quilt exhibited Wednesday, Dec. 1, at the Interfaith Peace Chapel as part of a World AIDS Day event. Next September, C.U.R.E. will bring more than 500 Quilt panels to Plano for the largest display in a decade. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

PLANO — C.U.R.E. will bring at least 500 panels of the Names Project’s AIDS Memorial Quilt to the Dallas Convention Center next September for the largest display since the entire Quilt was shown on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1996, according to C.U.R.E. leaders.

The Plano-based group made the announcement at their World AIDS Day event at Event1013 in Plano, where they displayed 13 blocks of the Quilt. They placed other panels at several other corporate headquarters located in Plano.

C.U.R.E. President and founder Rosemarie Odom said that one of those companies, Pepsico, has signed to be the lead sponsor of the Quilt display next year.

She said they are tentatively set to display the panels in Exhibit Hall F of the Convention Center from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

Tyler Sweatman is the event director. He said that the dates were chosen to correspond with LifeWalk. He’s hoping Lone Star Ride, which will take place the weekend before the event, will also participate.

“We’d love LifeWalk to walk right through the Convention Center,” said Odom.

Sweatman said that they will be requesting specific panels and will be taking requests from the community. He said it would be easier to get more of the requested panels in September than around next year’s World AIDS Day.

Sweatman said he was living in San Francisco in 1987 when Cleve Jones started the project. He watched the sewing going on in a little shop on Castro Street to memorialize friends who had died of AIDS.

Sweatman said he is amazed at how much the Quilt grew in just a few years.

The Quilt now has 91,000 names representing 17.5 percent of those who have died of AIDS in the United States. The Quilt was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and, at 1,293,300 square feet, is the largest piece of folk art ever produced. It weighs 54 tons.

Each panel is three feet by six feet, the size of a coffin. Eight panels are sewn together to form a block.  Several years ago, the Quilt moved from its original home in San Francisco to Atlanta. Sweatman said he expects the Quilt eventually to be housed in the Smithsonian.

The first day of the 2011 Quilt display is a Friday, and Sweatman said he hopes school groups from around North Texas as well as Oklahoma and Arkansas will come to see the display.

“Our goal is AIDS education,” he said.

To encourage the most people to see the Quilt, admission will be free. But staging the event will be costly. The group, which has non-profit status, is looking for additional sponsors and donations.

In addition to the cost of shipping the Quilt back and forth from Atlanta, there is the rental of the Convention Center, advertising, lighting and sound equipment.

During large displays, the names of persons who have died of AIDS are continuously read.

Volunteers are needed as Quilt monitors. Sweatman said he would especially like people who made any of the quilt panels or those who knew the people represented on the panels to talk about who they were.

Bono’s group ONE will coordinate volunteers. Sweatman said details are being worked out and will have more information about that and about volunteer opportunities soon.

Odom was excited about the opportunity to present such a large piece of the Quilt in Dallas. She became emotional standing in front of one of the 13 blocks hanging in Plano on World AIDS Day and warned about what an emotional experience the large display in September would be.

“I don’t want anyone to walk away from one of our events feeling good,” she said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 3, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

What to do after bringing Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian back to life on World AIDS Day

If you decide to join Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian and other celebrities by giving up Facebook and Twitter on World AIDS Day — and if you aren’t too busy trying to bring them back to life — there will be plenty of other activities to keep you busy Wednesday in North Texas.

In Friday’s Voice we published what we thought was a complete schedule of World AIDS Day doings — from quilt panels to free testing to candlelight vigils — but below is one more that came across this morning. If you know of other events, please feel free to shoot us an e-mail or post them in the comments.

Parkland patients, staff hold educational event about HIV/AIDS

DALLAS – On World AIDS Day, Parkland Health & Hospital System staff and patients who participate in the HIV Consumer Advisory Board will educate the Dallas community about resources available to HIV patients from 6 to 8:45 p.m., Dec. 1 at the Dallas Marriot City Center, 650 North Pearl St. in Dallas.

This free event is the first of its kind, focused on HIV positive members of the community and open to the public. The theme is “Universal Access and Human Rights.”

The event will also offer education and a fair featuring local organizations that specialize in HIV-related services. HIV health care providers from across the community will provide education and materials from local organizations. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Keynote speaker Kevin Murphy, MD, will answer questions from guests. Murphy is responsible for formulating the curriculum in AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases at the Dallas County Health Department and organized the early surveillance of AIDS in Dallas.

“One in 376 Texans is HIV-positive. We hope this event can provide support and education to those in our community who are impacted from this complex chronic disease,” said Sylvia Moreno, RN, director of Nursing-HIV at Parkland. “As the premier health care facility in this area for HIV infection, Parkland is able to provide excellent care from the beginning to advanced stages of disease. We want to share that expertise with others by arming them with information and education.”

For more information, please call 214.590.7055 or visit www.parklandhospital.com.

—  John Wright

World AIDS Day briefs

CURE hosting Quilt panels

The Collin County group Community Unity Respect Education will present about a dozen panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Plano Nov. 29 – Dec. 1. The quilt panels will be displayed at Event1013, 1013 E. 15th St. in Plano on Monday and Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The venue is in downtown Plano and valet parking will be available. Volunteers will discuss the quilt project and tell the stories of some of the people whose panels are displayed. Among the panels is one honoring Resource Center Dallas’ original executive director, John Thomas.

At the event, CURE President Rosemary Odom will announce plans for a large display of panels next year at the Dallas Convention Center to mark the 30th anniversary of when the disease was named AIDS.

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World AIDS Day events at AOC

AIDS Outreach Center will participate in two World AIDS Day events.

At Tarrant County College SE Campus in Arlington, free HIV testing will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition, the school will present panels, speakers and information.

AOC will also participate in the Minority Leadership Citizens Council meeting at noon at Community Christian Church Annex, 1800 E. Vickery Blvd. in Fort Worth. Outreach Center staff member John Reed will lead a discussion and offer facts figures and trends. A panel of HIV positive people will tell their stories and explain what it is like living with HIV.

That meeting will be recorded and broadcast on the city of Fort Worth cable channel. It will be repeated throughout the week.

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Sprinkles honors World AIDS Day

Sprinkles Cupcakes will do its first World AIDS Day promotion from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 1, with 100 percent of the proceeds from the red ribbon red velvet cupcakes sold in all seven stores across the country donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The Dallas store is in Preston Center.

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AIN plans World AIDS Day event

Clients and staff of AIDS Interfaith Network will offer a program of remembrance, music, and celebration in the Daire Center at 11 a.m. Staff and volunteers will serve the clients lunch. After lunch, AIN will hold a candlelight memorial in their lobby.

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World AIDS Day in Denton

In Denton, a World AIDS Day commemoration will be held on the square from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event includes a candlelight vigil, tree dedication, poetry reading, speakers, information tables and free hot chocolate.

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P.R.I.S.M. marks World AIDS Day

To commemorate World AIDS Day on Wednesday, Dec. 1,  P.R.I.S.M. (Promoting Respect In Sexual Minorities), the gay-straight alliance for Navarro College in Corsicana, will hold activities intended to help build awareness of HIV/AIDS in the community. Dana Kennedy Hartney, case manager for Ellis and Navarro counties with Dallas-based AIDS Arms Inc., will be the guest speaker for the event set for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Hartney will speak on the topic, “Why everyone is affected by HIV/AIDS.”

The program will be held in the Gooch Student Center, Arrowhead Room, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave. in Corsicana. Refreshments will be provided. AIDS Arms will also provide free HIV testing Thursday, Dec. 2, from noon to 4 p.m. in the Gooch Student Center. The testing is open to the public and will include an information  table and people to answer questions.

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RCD  dedicating dental chair

On World AIDS Day, Resource Center Dallas will dedicate its new dental chair at Nelson Tebedo Clinic at 4 p.m.

RCD spokesman Rafael McDonnell said the chair was purchased with Ryan White funds and replaces a chair that has been at the clinic since 1992. Dental care has become one of the major programs of the Nelson Tebedo Clinic. The clinic serves 65 patients every week.

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More World AIDS Day events

On Dec. 1, from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Parkland hospital presents an education and a consumer fair for World AIDS Day at the Dallas Marriott City Center, 650 N. Pearl St. All of the Ryan White agencies in Dallas will have booths.

Dr. Kevin Murphy is the keynote speaker and will be available to answer questions. He is responsible for formulating the curriculum in AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases at the Dallas County Health Department and organized the early surveillance of AIDS in Dallas.

The event is free and open to the public. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Parking in the Plaza of the Americas parking lot will be free. The entrance is on San Jacinto Street. The Marriott is adjacent to the Pearl Street DART station.

In Fort Worth, AIDS service providers are participating in a carnival and health fair at the Public Health Department, 1101 S. Main St., from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. All of the Ryan White service providers will be present. Food, games, gift card raffles and free HIV testing will be offered.

A memorial services will be conducted by The Revs. Carol West and Curtis Smith at 5 p.m.

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• FREE HIV TESTING

Free AIDS testing will be available at the following locations on World AIDS Day:

• AIDS Outreach Center, 400 N. Beach St., Fort Worth. 817-335-1994

• Tarrant County Public Health Department, 1101 S. Main St., Fort Worth. 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. 817-321-4700.

• Nelson Tebedo Clinic, 4012 Cedar Springs Road, 214-528-2336. Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments requested but can see some walk-ins. Dec. 3 all day. No appointments necessary. Free syphilis testing also.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

F.A.C.E. offers HIV-positive a shoulder to lean on

HIV/AIDS support group at Cathedral of Hope celebrates its 1st anniversary with a World AIDS Day event that includes Quilt panels

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Todd Faulk

A year ago, Todd Faulk created an HIV/AIDS support group as part of the Cathedral of Hope outreach ministries. But it’s not a Bible study, and it’s not a religious group.

Faulk notes that he’s not a licensed counselor, and he’s not a pastor. The group is there to help people living with HIV feel better about themselves.

Still, Faulk said, he felt — and he had heard others say — that as the largest LGBT church in the area, Cathedral of Hope should offer an HIV support group.

Such groups were more common in the early 1990s, before drugs that helped control the virus became available. But Faulk saw a need. He said people had questions, especially young people.

When Faulk volunteered to become the face of the group, he turned that word into an acronym for Faith, Acceptance, Caring, Educate.

He said that the goal was support and information, not fellowship, so before calling the first meeting, he looked for some curriculum. He couldn’t find any, so he turned to area professionals.

Faulk knew Legacy Counseling Center Executive Director Melissa Grove because he turned to Legacy when he was first diagnosed a dozen years ago. So he approached her, and Grove provided him with a number of topics for meetings and referred a number of people to the group.

“They’ve done a fantastic job,” said Grove said of F.A.C.E. “Any person going to the group would be welcomed with open arms.”

She said that while Legacy provides individual counseling and therapeutic groups, and other AIDS service organizations offer other services, F.A.C.E.  fills a void.

“A support group doesn’t need to be led by a licensed professional,” she said.

Grove raved about the job Faulk has done. Before the group began, she worked with him on facilitating skills and how to create a safe environment.

“If a leader can’t do that, people won’t talk,” she said.

She said it was important for Faulk to recognize when someone might need something more than a support group, and over the past year they have referred people back and forth from her therapy to his support.

Dr. Nick Bellos and his nurse practitioner, Stephanie Shoemaker, usually attend two sessions a month to answer medical questions.

“We’re there in case people have questions about their drugs,” said Bellos.

He said they especially discuss side effects.

“We tell folks what’s out there and available,” he said.

Bellos also provides information about clinical trials in the area. Recently he gave the group information on life expectancies and co-morbidities, discussing HIV-related diabetes and hypertension.

His job isn’t diagnosing at the group, but if Bellos hears something that sounds like it needs to be examined, he sends the group member to his doctor.

Bellos complimented Faulk on the way he runs the group.

“He does a great job keeping the group on track,” Bellos said. “He makes sure everyone has an opportunity to speak.”

Faulk said some people attend a few meetings, get what they need from the group and move on. Others have become regulars. And while the goal is to help people with HIV live better lives, the death of one member soon after F.A.C.E.  formed reminded everyone of how serious HIV can be.

“He developed spinal meningitis and died in less than a week,” Faulk said. “His family didn’t even know he was positive.”

That left the man’s partner with the job of explaining the illness to the family.

Since then, that member’s mother has attended, first for support after her son’s death and then to help others come out to their families as HIV-positive and, when necessary, as gay.

Other parents have participated to get information and to support their HIV-positive sons. Parents from out of town have attended and left with confidence that their child was getting the support needed, Faulk said.

In addition to coming out and medical issues, Faulk said group members have dealt with a variety of other related topics, like “eating habits, how the food you’re eating affects your medication.”

Faulk said someone might mention that he has a reaction when he eats a particular food. And another group member will say he has noticed a similar reaction.

“I call that the ‘me, too’ factor,” said Grove. “It’s very important in decreasing isolation.”

Faulk said those sort of things are important because living with HIV requires a lifestyle change. He said he learned in the group that regular antacids block the body from properly absorbing HIV medications. He said his doctor gave him something to use instead.

“We talked about a recent study that showed that cocaine actually increases the amount of HIV in the body by lowering the immune system,” Faulk said.

Other topics have included acceptance, setting goals, the importance of physical activity, positive thinking and getting away from a “woe is me” feeling.

World AIDS Day marks the one-year anniversary of F.A.C.E., as well as the 10th anniversary of the John Thomas Bell Tower. F.A.C.E. helped coordinate the World AIDS Day event at the Cathedral.

The Rev. Paul Tucker, who was the Cathedral’s first AIDS chaplain, will lead the service. He is now a pastor at All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis.

The Turtle Creek Chorale will perform.

Panels from the quilt will be on display in the International Peace Chapel and HIV testing coordinated with Resource Center Dallas will be available throughout the day.

Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Dec. 1 at 7:15 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens