Kasim Reed skips his own World AIDS Day event

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imageThe City of Atlanta will again mark World AIDS Day by bathing City Hall in red, offering free HIV testing and an observance though Mayor Kasim Reed is skipping his own event.

Reed’s office announced its World AIDS Day plans late Wednesday and they include an 11 a.m. observance in the atrium of City Hall with scores of religious leaders and officials from health agencies and HIV organizations. Reed is not scheduled to attend, but is dispatching Chief of Staff Candace Byrd to the event.

Reed’s absence marks at least the third high-profile LGBT event the mayor has skipped in recent weeks. He didn’t take part in the Atlanta Pride parade on Oct. 9, as he did in 2010, and was also not present for the AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run on Oct. 16. Reed did appear at the Pride VIP event on Oct. 7 and the Fenuxe Ice Party on Nov. 6.

In 2010, Reed spoke passionately during a World AIDS Day ceremony on the steps of City Hall. He also touted turning City Hall red at night (photo) as part of an effort to do the same at several city landmarks, though it fell a few buildings short. This year, the city is again turning City Hall red during December as part of a global push to take part in Red. The effort hoped to illuminate iconic landmarks across the globe to raise awareness for reducing babies born with HIV.

Also Thursday, the city is offering free HIV testing at City Hall from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The 11 a.m. observance in the City Hall atrium includes representatives from the following organizations:

AID Atlanta
Atlanta Harm Reduction Center, Inc
Citywide Project Inc
Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness
Georgia Department of Community Health
Georgia Department of Public Health
Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center
My Brother’s Keeper Inc
Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center
Traxx Atlanta

The City Hall events are part of a long list of World AIDS Day observances across Atlanta that includes a large display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at Emory.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Reed says the mayor was traveling on Thursday and that’s why he was unable to attend the World AIDS Day events at City Hall.


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