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Thousands Form Human Chain Around U.S. Capitol Demanding An End To AIDS:
Hands Around The Capitol
Set for Saturday, October 12

September 10, 1996

Contact: José Zuniga, AIDS Action
(202) 986-1300, (Washington)

Wolfe, GMHC Action
(212) 337-1237 (New York media)

WASHINGTON, D.C - Using the October display of the 45,000-panel AIDS Memorial Quilt as a backdrop, thousands of family members, friends and lovers of those claimed by the AIDS epidemic will join hands around the U.S. Capitol from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, October 12, in a dramatic expression of solidarity and commitment to ending the AIDS crisis. Organized by AIDS Action Council, Mothers' Voices and Gay Men's Health Crisis Action, Hands Around the Capitol coincides with the three-day display here of the AIDS Memorial Quilt - the largest AIDS awareness event in history - and its Saturday theme of "family, friends and lovers."

"Hands Around the Capitol will be a human chain of concern and remembrance for the 320,000 American lives already claimed by the epidemic, and a reminder to our elected officials that we remember, we care, and we vote," said Fred Miller, AIDS Action Council's interim executive director. "Hands Around the Capitol will also provide each person moved by the magnitude of the AIDS Memorial Quilt the opportunity to turn his or her grief and anger into action."

Said Ann Kurth, Mothers' Voices Executive Director, "We will join hands on October 12 to commemorate the past, and to demand commitment to a future where the Congress, the White House and the State Houses show leadership in the continuing national crisis that is AIDS. Our leadership needs to hear us; AIDS is a voters' issue."

"Hands Around the Capitol demonstrates the need for the AIDS community to acknowledge the political realities of 1996 and beyond," said Michael T. Isbell of Gay Men's Health Crisis Action. "Our elected officials continue to make decisions which dramatically affect the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS. As people who have been touched by this epidemic, it is our responsibility to join hands and make our voices heard."

Over 10,000 Hands Around the Capitol participants will assemble on the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol Building at 1:30 p.m., October 12, for a celebrity kickoff before they march around the building and join hands. Armed only with their voices and the intention to cast their ballots this November in remembrance of loved ones who have succumbed to AIDS, Hands Around the Capitol participants will demand that their leaders in Washington fight to end an epidemic that has claimed over 320,000 lives and threatens hundreds of thousands more.

Celebrity schedules for the event are presently being finalized with announcements expected in mid-September. Members of the media should complete the enclosed media credential form to obtain unlimited access to Hands Around the Capitol operations, celebrities and event organizers.

For more information, contact:
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, extension 3053
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.