Red Ribbons of Love Documentary
World AIDS Sunday – December 3, 2023
We premiered our documentary film “Red Ribbons of Love” on World AIDS Sunday during our 11AM church service followed by a reception in the gym. Special guest included our Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank, our District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Siosaia Tu’itahi, Producer, Actress and Activist Pauley Perrette, CEO Joe Hollendoner from the Los Angeles LGBT Center, CEO Richard L. Zaldivar from the Wall Las Memorias Project, and CEO Richard Ayoub. from Project Angel Food
Red Ribbons of Love – A documentary short film
2023 marks the 30-year anniversary of the red AIDS ribbons on the tower of the Hollywood United Methodist Church, a progressive community of faith in the heart of Hollywood. To preserve the history of these ribbons and their importance to the LGBTQ community, we have created a 15 minute documentary, narrated by church member Pauley Perrette (NCIS).
Red Ribbons of Love, a film by Pauley Perrette, documents the 30-year history of the red AIDS ribbons on the tower of Hollywood United Methodist Church, located two blocks from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1993, when salons, barbershops, schools, and churches were closing their doors to the LGBT community for fear of “catching” AIDS, this church not only welcomed the community into the church but affixed two large red ribbons of love to the sides of its tower to proclaim that all are welcome.
Red Ribbons of Love includes interviews with pastors who have served the church during and since 1993 and key laypeople who helped the ribbons become a reality. There are stories of church members who died from AIDS during the early days of the pandemic, the participation in the AIDS Quilt, the funeral of Pedro Zamora, and the continuing hope the ribbons provide to all who live with HIV today.
If you would like to donate to the ongoing restoration of the Red Ribbons on the bell tower, please click this link.
We had 2 weekends for viewing sections from the AIDS Memorial Quilt on the weekends of April 22-23 and April 29-30 – All days from 12PM – 4PM. We secured sections of the quilt that have names of our members, and some of these sections were actually sewn here at our Hollywood Campus in the 1990’s.
In 1993, when the LGBTQ community was being excluded from houses of worship, this congregation proclaimed that all are welcome here by affixing two red ribbons of love to the sides of the tower. But that was just the outer face of our compassion and mercy. Inside the walls was where the hope was truly found – including making Quilt panels for congregation members.
Sharing the Quilt’s powerful stories of activism, resilience, hope and remembrance, helps connect the story of HIV/AIDS to the important issues impacting our nation today. The Quilt can be viewed in its entirety and people can search for names on the Quilt at www.aidsmemorial.org/quilt.
History of HollywoodUMC
Hollywood United Methodist Church has long been known as a theologically progressive congregation in which the LGBTQ community is welcomed and affirmed. Its Gothic style cathedral, built in 1929, stands
in the heart of Hollywood as a beacon of hope to all who have been affected by the AIDS pandemic. In 1993, when the LGBTQ community was being denied services at barber shops and nail salons; when Ryan White was not allowed to attend school because of his diagnosis; when even churches were closing their doors to LGBTQ persons for fear of “catching AIDS” this congregation proclaimed that all are welcome here by affixing two red ribbons of love to the sides of the tower. But that was just the outer face of our compassion and mercy. Inside the walls was where the hope was truly found.
Before there was an APLA or Project Angel Food, or even the medication AZT, we as a congregation were caring for those affected among us. We took folks to the doctor, prepared and delivered meals, and prayerfully stood vigil as far too many of our loved ones passed too soon from this life to the next. We wept, we laughed, we cried; and we remembered.
When the NAMES Project needed space to make quilt pieces, one of our rooms was turned into a beehive of sewing and creativity. When congregations were called upon to take a day per month and prepare lunches for the folks without insurance coverage, awaiting treatment at the LAC-USC 5P21 clinic, we signed up for the third Friday of each month, which we faithfully provided for 25 years.
In 1994, when Pedro Zamora of The Real World: San Francisco, died of AIDS, we hosted his memorial to a standing-room-only congregation.
Over the years our pastoral care and public witness has grown. We have raised funds and gifts for children of the Serra Project and Tuesday’s Child. We wrote letters to a major diaper manufacturer during the days they refused to donate their product to agencies caring for babies with HIV because they didn’t want “that sort of association.” We have been one of the longest congregational supporters of Strength for the Journey, a camp for adults living with HIV, begun by our own senior pastor emeritus, Dr. Ed Hansen. For years we were consistently one of the largest groups to raise funds in AIDSWalkLA.
Again this Advent we decorated our beautiful compassion bears, we’ve loved them up, and we will send them on prayerfully to be embraced by children aged 0-12 who are living with HIV and being treated at LAC/USC Pediatric AIDS Clinic.
Over the years, we have helped form a human red ribbon at Dodger Stadium as part of Strike Out AIDS, just one of the many education and prevention programs of The Wall/Las Memorias, which also developed and built the first publicly funded AIDS memorial in Lincoln Park.
The red ribbons on our tower continue to inspire others to have compassion for, and welcome, all persons no matter whom they love.
To learn more about this or for upcoming events, contact the HUMC office