As COVID dominates the infectious disease landscape, a dedicated group that includes the Bet Haverim Congregation is sharing a critical dialogue and awareness that HIV / AIDS persists.
On Saturday evening, as part of Pride Month, a free community event and virtual game, “Love, Mr.” reflects the early days of the HIV / AIDS epidemic. Bet Haverim, Positive Impact Health Centers and Horizon Theater Company partnered with the event to draw attention to the 40e anniversary of the onset of HIV / AIDS. It is a disease that persists in Atlanta with some of the highest infection rates in the country. “Love, Mr.” is the centerpiece of the event followed by a panel discussion featuring those working on the front lines to end this disease.
The event was originally designed for Bet Haverim, founded by members of the LGBTQIA community 35 years ago.
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Marjorie Osheroff, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Horizon Theater, is a member of Bet Haverim. “I am very proud of the powerful play by playwright Clarinda Ross… produced by Horizon Theater during COVID. It was a perfect vehicle for introducing the public to life during the early days of the AIDS crisis, ”said Osheroff.
“LOVE, M.” is a collection of letters that reveal the stories of two mothers and their sons in a time when AIDS was well understood, as families found out their sons were sick before they even knew their sons. were homosexuals. Using the arts to open minds and hearts is very effective.
Playwright Ross, quoted on the Horizon Theater website, explained “‘LOVE, Mr. ‘ is based on long conversations with mothers from the last pandemic, because I wanted to understand these mothers and their stories before I lost them. In the end, I came home with a very personal story full of humor, humanity, and the healing power of love, acceptance, and the thing that we all yearn for – the connection. This play is able to personalize the HIV / AIDS epidemic in the same way that great stories can.
As a longtime Bet Haverim member, Osheroff said she learned from leaders such as Joshua Lesser, now Rabbi Emeritus of the Reconstructionist Synagogue, how to better advocate and speak out when people are marginalized. “I have used my voice and taken action to educate the community about this issue and the health care inequalities that have been pervasive in the history of HIV care and treatment. For me, Rabbi Josh is a great inspiration. Over time, Bet Haverim has supported the LGBTQIA pride and rights movement, marching together and with the wider Jewish community in the Pride Parade when Rabbi Josh Lesser was chosen as one of the Grand Marshals. leading the parade in 2018, and on this day the march continues.
Osheroff added, “Years of working as an oncology social worker have made it easy to see when the response to specific health issues can be very politically motivated, creating inequalities in health care. I felt outraged when I realized that it had been 40 years since the onset of HIV / AIDS and that there is no vaccine or cure as COVID-19 claims four vaccines produced in less than one year! I wondered why this was the case.
The HIV / AIDS awareness event is at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/40-year-of-aids-virtual-play-love-m-and-panel-discussion-tickets-157144014979
“Love, Mr.” is free to broadcast until the end of the year at https://www.horizontheatre.com/love-m/