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Top angle shot of the human hand holding a red ribbon, the AIDS symbol

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Today has a two-fold focus on awareness. It is “World AIDS Day” and “Giving Tuesday.”

Giving Tuesday aims 180 degrees away from the recent chatter and activities of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  This day is a 24-hour online campaign to encourage people to donate to charities, volunteer, and support causes that help others. Giving Tuesday began three years ago. The founder says people can give blood, give money, give their time, and give away clothing they are no longer using. This year, there’s even a campaign encouraging organ donation. Last year, Giving Tuesday raised about $45-million and involved more than 15,000 nonprofits.

More than 30,000 nonprofits are signed up this year for Giving Tuesday, including one here in Indianapolis, in particular, that is observing both awareness days. More on the Indianapolis Urban League below. But first, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people all over the globe to come together in the fight against HIV, show their support for folks living with the disease, and to remember those who have died from it.  Here in Indiana, as of December 31, 2014, there were 5,376 people living with HIV and 6,171 living with AIDS. Last year alone the Indiana Department of Health reports that 421 people were diagnosed with HIV and the state has seen a significant outbreak in the southeastern part of the state. People are encouraged to wear a red ribbon today to show their support. Organizers say it’s an important reminder to the public that the virus has not gone away and there is still a crucial need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education. Across the globe, there are about 35 million people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The Indianapolis Urban League invites you to participate in both events with them. They have a goal of raising $5,000 on this Giving Tuesday in honor of the organization’s 50 years of service here in the Indianapolis community. They’d like to use the funds to improve their services to the community including both clients and students who utilize them as a resource. They’ve made it easy to give by three methods: Online at http://www.indplsul.org; By text message on a cell phone, Text IUL50 to 243725 (BIDPAL); or By mail, Indianapolis Urban League, 777 Indiana Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202.  The IUL is also hosting a World AIDS Day Program today from 12Noon to 4 p.m. at their Indiana Avenue location featuring the commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, Dr. Jerome Adams; memorial tributes to HIV/AIDS advocates Larry Pasco and Rick Ewing; several panels from the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and a memorial tree honoring loved ones; and a panel discussion on local HIV/AIDS issues and initiatives. You can click HERE to let them know you’re coming.

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