Friday, December 1, 2017
World AIDS Day Observance
8-8:30am Pastries and Coffee outside on the Chapel Plaza
8:30-9:30am Meditation, music and conversation inside the Chapel
In commemoration of World AIDS Day, the Rothko Chapel held a morning conversation and meditation offered in partnership with Montrose Center and Legacy Community Health. Attendees gathered to show support and solidarity with the millions of people living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS.
The morning observation included live music, community conversation, and guided meditation. Venita Ray, policy manager at Legacy Health, shared some important facts on the current state of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the citywide campaign she’s running to end HIV. A moment of silence, prayer and guided reflection was led by Reverend Laura Mayo, Senior Minister of Covenant Church, and music was performed throughout the experience by Michele Thibeaux (vocals), Denis Cisneros (guitar), and Jason Mitchell (cajón).
Established by the World Health Organization in 1988 as the first ever global health day, World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st day of December each year. It is an occasion to reflect on the more than 35 million people who have died from HIV/AIDS since the virus was first identified in 1984, and a time to consider how to better care for the 36.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and their families, friends and loved ones who have been deeply impacted. World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
About the Program Participants:
Venita Ray is an attorney with a passion for social justice, equity and advocacy. As the public policy manager for Legacy Community Health in Houston, Texas, Venita monitors health care policy with a focus on HIV/AIDS, manages an advocacy training program for people living with HIV, and since 2016 has led a citywide effort to end the HIV epidemic in Houston. Venita works with a number of HIV advocacy organizations such as the Positive Women’s Network-USA, The Afiya Center and Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative. Venita is committed to raising awareness about HIV, ending the criminalization of people living with HIV and teaching others to advocate for issues that impact the HIV community.
Rev. Laura Mayo is the Senior Minister of Covenant Church. Laura is a graduate of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee and Wake Forest University Divinity School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She completed a year-long CPE chaplaincy program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Laura also studied at Regent's Park College of Oxford University.
Michele Thibeaux, Denis Cisneros, and Jason Mitchell
Born out of Houston’s Human Development Corporation, Awakenings Movement, this trio uses music to spread love and create healing. Michele Thibeaux is a Houston-based, Oakland, California-born singer, songwriter, and composer who has been making music for the past twenty years with a goal to inspire others. She classifies her style as Simply Soul/Alternative. Denis Cisneros is an Interdisciplinary artist, composer, educator, and researcher of the healing effects of specific frequencies. Through his original music and teaching, he seeks to heal and transform one chord at a time. Jason Mitchell is an independent creative, percussionist, drum instructor, and music therapist with over 20 years’ music experience.
About the Partnering Organizations:
Legacy Community Health is the largest community health system in the region, with more than 30 clinics in Houston, Deer Park, Baytown, and Beaumont. The non-profit organization, a United Way-affiliated agency, provides adult primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health services, OB/GYN and maternity, and comprehensive HIV/AIDS care to primarily low-income patients. In the 1980s, Legacy was called the Montrose Clinic, a first responder in the AIDS crisis.
The Montrose Center was established in 1978 as a safe and affirming place for lesbian and gay Houstonians to receive counseling, and has emerged as one of the nation’s leading full-service LGBT centers. Although counseling remains at the heart of what we do, services have expanded to meet the changing needs of our diverse community. These services include substance abuse treatment, support and advocacy for LGBT survivors of violent crimes, care and assistance for people with HIV/AIDS, free community wellness programs and activities, and programs for our community’s most vulnerable and isolated—youth and seniors. We sit at the center of the LGBT community and serve as a gathering place for LGBT organizations and groups. The Montrose Center is a United Way Agency.