It was in early 2012 that Brian Chittock, executive director at AIDS Vancouver, first began considering what to do for AIDS Vancouver’s 30th Anniversary. A significant milestone in the history of Canada’s oldest AIDS service organization, Brian wanted to ensure the date was marked by an event both memorable and relevant to AIDS Vancouver and its ever-evolving mission.
Brandy Svendson, co-owner of Be The Change Group Inc, worked with Brian and together they developed an idea to chronicle the 30 years of AIDS Vancouver through a series of videos. Each video would depict the significant events of each year in the life of AIDS Vancouver. 30 years, 30 videos.
The 30 30 Campaign was born.
What no one anticipated was how the 30 30 Campaign would evolve. Over the next six months, research into the history of AIDS Vancouver uncovered far more than expected: lost footage of “Patient Zero” Gaetan Dugas; the location of three cherry blossom trees planted years ago as the very first AIDS memorial, and then forgotten.
Perhaps the most important were the stories that were told. The stories of doctors, nurses, and policy-makers who stood on the front lines of the epidemic, fighting for the rights of HIV-positive people. The stories of friends, family, and lovers who to this day still carry the loss of their loved ones. The stories of the survivors, those who live with HIV, carrying within both the promise of life as well as the reminder of those who lost theirs to HIV/AIDS.
The 30 30 Campaign was no longer just a history of AIDS Vancouver. It became the history of AIDS in Vancouver.
The 30 30 Campaign was a resounding success, reinvigorating not just AIDS Vancouver, but the HIV/AIDS Community at large. AIDS Vancouver’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, held at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom on July 30th 2013, saw over 650 members and guests of the community attend, and raised $30,000 for AIDS Vancouver.
Today, the 30 videos of the 30 30 Campaign are permanently hosted on the 30 30 website. This website will remain in perpetuity; an educational resource, an historical archive, a memorial for all who have been part of the epidemic in Vancouver.
A 31st video is both a final look back and a look ahead to what the next 30 years will bring. Not just for AIDS Vancouver, but for everyone whose life is touched by HIV/AIDS.