Thursday, July 12, 2007

Permanent Tribute

Engravings to honor HIV/AIDS caregivers by Will O'Bryan, Metro Weekly

Those volunteers and caregivers who have responded to the calls of the HIV/AIDS crisis will soon be getting a permanent tribute. On July 14, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and City Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) will dedicate the tribute, which consists of two engravings.

In the circular, granite entrance above the north entrance to the Dupont Circle Metrorail Station, will be engraved an excerpt from ''The Dresser,'' a poem by Walt Whitman, the famed gay poet who lived from 1819-92. Whitman's name is incorporated into Whitman-Walker Clinic, the D.C. clinic founded in 1973 initially as the Gay Men's VD Clinic. Graham, who initiated this project, has a long history with the clinic, having served as clinic president, executive director, and on its board of directors.

The second portion of the tribute will be a contemporary poem, ''We Embrace,'' written by Howard University Professor E. Ethelbert Miller. Miller's poem will be inscribed on the sidewalk above the station.

The July 14 dedication ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the station entrance at Connecticut Avenue and Q Street NW.

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