SAN DIEGO -- Clifford Albright wants to send a "red flash" to the White House.
In an effort to mark the 30th anniversary of the first documented cases of AIDS, the San Diego activist is inviting the community to join him at 5:30 pm today in Balboa Park for a photograph expressing support for HIV/AIDS prevention and education funding.
Albright, who began his demonstration on Sunday, June 5, says that he disappointed in the federal government because of its lack of support for HIV/AIDS over the last three decades.
"I was very discouraged that the White House and the United States has not been involved with AIDS in finding a cure," Albright said. "It's been 30 years and we still do not have a cure. With Ryan White Funding and state government medical resources being exhausted from the explosion of new AIDS Cases we are heading into another 1980's Scenario."
Albright, who regularly volunteers at Auntie Helen's in North Park, believes that he is the only person in the country doing such activism in this way.
As part of his week-long demonstration, Clifford stood outside of the local NBC affiliate's studio windows in downtown holding up signs and speaking to passers-by for several hours last week.
Throughout the week, Alrbight sent regular email photos and updates to friends, media, and through his Facebook page, asking for help spreading the message.
"By creating this RED FLASH MOB event for the world to view, it will enable the AIDS community to demonstrate to Congress and President Obama that 30 years and still no cure is not acceptable," said Albright, who encouraged his friends and supporters to forward his photos to everyone they know.
Albright said he started his campaign during San Diego's Rock 'n Roll Marathon held June 5, by standing on the 163 freeway overpass bridge at Richmond Street in Hillcrest, as the thousands of runners passed by. He held up a 15-foot-long banner, which announced today's RED FLASH MOB.
"I cheered on the Rock and Roll Marathon and supported their fight to fight The Leukemia & Lymphoma, wearing a 30 year side shirt, doing a flash stunt to show that 30 years and no cure is unacceptable for AIDS," Albright said. "I elected not to organize my [Red Flash Mob event] until June 13 to not take any spotlight away from [Rock 'n Roll Marathon] and their support to the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society."
Later that day, Albright headed to Normal Street to demonstrate near the Hillcrest Farmers Market, followed by his week in downtown.
Early this morning, Albright and his friend Eric Hufford (commonly referred to as Sister Iona Dubble-Wyde) headed up to Cardiff to "decorate" the "Cardiff Kook" statue with HIV/AIDS awareness materials. The piece of public art along South Coast Highway was erected in 2007 and since that time, has regularly been dressed up and embellished by unknown members of the public who have a message to spread or simply want to play a prank.
Hufford, who was born 1981, says that AIDS has always been a part of his life and he was compelled to help Albright out with this cause because of the personal connection he has with the disease.
"As someone who has lived their entire life in the AIDS era, I often find myself surprised and sadden by the lack of knowledge and awareness many people still have about HIV/AIDS," Hufford said. "I thought by helping Clifford out that I could start getting more people informed by the danger we all still face with this disease."
Albright and Hufford hope the community will join them this afternoon at 5:30 pm at the Balboa Park Fountain along Park Boulevard near the Rueben H. Fleet Science Center. Participants are asked to wear a red shirt for the event, which will be structured like a regular flash mob. At 6 pm, when the park's Del Prado Bells chime, participants will remove their shirts and wave them in the air and dance. Photographs will be taken and sent to the White House.
"We will unite and signify that we have a long way to go before reaching a cure and stopping this epidemic," Albright said. "Let's send the United States Congress a message that San Diego does not accept 30 years without a cure."
For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.