I wore my AIDS ribbon to work on Saturday. It's red, and beaded, with the colours of the Kenyan flag (green, black, white and red) at the bottom, and was given to me by a new friend active on Campus and in East Africa.
As I pinned it to my top in the morning, I wondered how many people would acknowledge it and get into some discussion surrounding World AIDS Day. As a waitress, I wondered how bringing peoples' attention to something unpleasant- like incurable disease- would affect my tips.
I was unprepared, however, for the response I did get: people kept mistaking my pin for a Christmas decoration! More than once, I received exclamations of, "Wow, you look so festive!"
Sorry. I'm not so much 'festive' as trying to be globally conscious.
I visited some of the activities at U of T as part of the Day, and I must admit I was disappointed. I felt that there could be more NGOs represented, more links between student groups and groups from the wider community, more coordination of events on campus. I was frustrated that I didn't feel it was enough (granted I didn't make it to the main event at Hart House because I was busy serving pancakes on Queen Street).
My amazement that people would mistake my ribbon for a nod to Xmas, and my feeling that the university community should do so much more made me realize how just because I see this issue as a 'big deal' doesn't mean that everyone does. Sometimes you can get lost in a bubble of activists and activism and totally forget that you are virtually invisible to the outside world.