Yesterday was the Rose Bowl and for the first time ever, the 123-year-old Tournament of Roses Parade included a float addressing the AIDS epidemic and one of its earliest Hollywood crusaders, Elizabeth Taylor.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a global HIV/AIDS services organization, chose the late screen legend to be at the center of its float because of her decades of activism and advocacy. As AHF president Michael Weinstein explains:
“Our Tournament of Roses Parade float is a tribute to someone who was more than a film star—Elizabeth Taylor was a real hero and one who truly deserves all the accolades she has received. Long before it was fashionable, she was there by our side—a singular and fearless champion for AIDS activism. She spoke truth to power on a variety of issues, and her organization, which had no overhead, helped fund AHF and other AIDS organizations in Los Angeles at a time when funding was hard to come by. For her to speak out and show her compassion really changed the game
AHF’s ‘Our Champion’ float also serves as a reminder that, though Ms. Taylor bravely stood up for people living with HIV/AIDS at an important moment in history, the AIDS epidemic is still not over and there remains much work to be done.”
To paraphrase an old song, we love a parade!