In observance of World AIDS Day today, students dressed in black are laying in the Arbor in silence in hopes of reminding passersby of the millions of people affected by the disease.
The “die-in,” staged from noon to 1 p.m. today, will be accompanied by a march from Storke Plaza to the Arbor beginning at 11:30 a.m. The World AIDS Day activities, which began yesterday and continue today around campus, were organized by the Africa Awareness Student Organization with the help of Black Student Union, Queer Student Union and UCSB’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said AASO co-President Aynae Kebede.
“We’re asking people to be silent as a symbol of all the people silenced by AIDS,” said Kebede, a fourth-year global studies major, said.
Students also jammed to live music in Storke Plaza yesterday and received free condoms and information in the Arbor yesterday as a precursor to today’s World Aids Day.
The event featured student organizations selling food and informing students about the AIDS virus, as well as live music by the Sacapuntas Locos and Micah Jolly.
Student Health’s Sex and Relationship interns also tabled in front of the Arbor yesterday, giving out condoms and information about getting tested for HIV.
Fourth-year political science and Middle East studies major May Malik, a member of AASO, said the event has been a success in the past.
“We’ve been donating 100 percent of what we raise to the ‘Q’ Fund for AIDS for the past three years,” Malik said. “This fund allows for sustainable economies in African countries.”
At a table in front of the Arbor, Carly Hann, a Sex and Relationship intern and second-year women studies and sociology major, said the importance of the day is to educate people about AIDS and encourage people to have “safer sex.”
“There’s no such thing as safe sex, besides masturbation and abstinence,” Hann said, while passing out free condoms that included facts about AIDS.
Josh Kiser, a fourth-year psychology major and chair of the Sex and Relationship interns’ events committee, said his group was emphasizing its slogan “Know Your Status” by encouraging people to get tested and by hosting a drawing with prizes of Woodstock’s Pizza, Starbucks, Pita Pit and T-shirts.
According to Kebede, last year’s event collected about $1,000, and the group projects the amount will increase this year.