Media company Essence Global is planning an event for World AIDS Day on Wednesday that not only commemorates those lost to AIDS, but also raises money for LGBTQ+ youth currently living with HIV.
The first ever Essence Benefit for World AIDS Day will take place at the 3 Dollar Bill nightclub in Brooklyn, N.Y., and feature music by DJ Tommy Hart and live performances by drag legends Ruby Fox and Serena Tea. Organizers of the event describe the benefit as "an opportunity to connect while supporting local LGBTQ+ artists and business owners and giving back to the largest organization dedicated to LGBTQ+ homeless youth in the country."
The event will raise funds for New York's Ali Forney Center; specifically the organization’s health services, which include daily HIV testing as well as prevention, outreach, and treatment for HIV.
"Every year people around the world unite on World AIDS Day to show support for the 38 million people living with HIV and to commemorate the 32.7 million people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic," Joshua Bareño, Director of Multicultural at Essence, said in a statement.
Organizers of the fundraiser were thoughtful about who would benefit.
“Every element was handpicked to ensure resources were poured back into LGBTQ+ & POC businesses and artists such as Studio Ready, Bluestockings Cooperative, Boy Smells, Alder New York and Otherwild,” said Wanda Ibarrola, Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion. “I’m so proud of all of the work the team has done to create an inclusive event.”
“Black LGBTQ+ individuals have made great contributions to our culture and we need to embrace their full experiences including the struggles they face. Supporting The Ali Forney Center is just a small way we can do that,” said Kiera McBride, Planning Supervisor.
The Essence Benefit for World AIDS Day begins at 7 p.m. Eastern and is accessible on the L train via the Montrose Avenue station. If you'd live to give directly to the Ali Forney Center, click here.