When I came up from the subway yesterday and walked up the United Nations Plaza on my way to pick up the munchkin from school, I was startled to see that San Francisco City Hall was drenched in red light. I walked along thinking of the people who vanished from this city when AIDS struck, and of the ones in places like southern Africa, where it’s getting worse. I didn’t know until later that monuments all over the world were going red in honor of World AIDS Day.

Photo by Troy Holden

This one provided some excitement for the munchkin, who wanted to know how it got that way, and why. I explained that there’s a disease that’s made a lot of people very sick and the building was lit up with red to remind us that we need to do something to help them and find a way to cure it. She got very concerned: “But I want to get home to Mommy and have Hanukah.”

Right, sweetie. We don’t need to eliminate AIDS right this moment, before we go home from school. But oh, how I wish that was all it would take.