Once again, a red scarf makes a strong fall fashion statement around London.

As it has been since 2012, the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection‘s Red Scarf has volunteers knitting or crocheting hundreds of scarves in a community campaign dedicated to those living with HIV/AIDS and those who have died.

Over the years, more than 7,000 red scarves have been finished and then wrapped around supporters making a proud, inspiring statement.

More recently, a benefit concert has been added to the project. This year, Juno-winning Toronto rockers Bedouin Soundclash headline the Red Scarf concert which goes Nov. 23 (doors at 7 p.m.) at the London Music Hall, 185 Queens Ave. Last year’s benefit welcomed the Trews to the London stage.

The Trews performance last year at the Red Scarf Benefit Concert, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection 2017.
The Trews performance last year at the Red Scarf Benefit Concert, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection 2017.

Meanwhile, those wearing a Red Scarf will stand out around the region, especially on World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

Earlier this fall, Branden Raue, Communications Coordinator with Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, provided Answers to Fuse questions about Red Scarf.

Here’s the email Q&A:

Q: If I can’t make a Red Scarf, what can I do to help right now?

A: Anyone can get involved with Red Scarf by:

Purchasing tickets to our benefit concert featuring Bedouin Soundclash on Nov. 23 at London Music Hall
Visiting our pop-up events in London throughout November to pick up a Red Scarf
· Wearing a Red Scarf for World AIDS Day on December 1

· Sharing your support on social media by tagging #RedScarf and @RedScarf.ca

· Donating at redscarf.ca in support of client services and programs at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection

To see all the ways you can show your support this season, visit redscarf.ca!

Q: How does 2018 compare in terms of scarves, passion & numbers with other years?

A: 2018 should be our biggest year yet! Since 2012, volunteers have donated more than 6,700 scarves for HIV/AIDS. So far, we have received more than 860 red scarves this year—and we’re expecting many more.

A red scarf is worn to raise awareness and end HIV/AIDS stigma, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection 2015.
A red scarf is worn to raise awareness and end HIV/AIDS stigma, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection 2015.

We also hope to see a lot of our supporters at London Music Hall on Nov. 23. Last year, over 1,000 community members attended our annual benefit concert.

Q: Is there an unsung hero — somebody who does a lot but maybe isn’t well-known outside the campaign— who is there for it every year?

A: Red Scarf is made possible by the countless volunteers who spend hours making these scarves. We are so grateful to each and every community member who handcrafts a Red Scarf, and to those who wear them with pride. We dedicate these scarves to those living with HIV/AIDS, to those we have lost, and to the many unsung heroes of the AIDS Crisis who have fought for progress and the support of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Over the years, shame and stigma have silenced many of these unsung heroes’ stories. This year, Red Scarf will be presenting World AIDS Day vigils in London and Stratford to honour and remember the lives and loved ones we have lost to HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the crisis.

Q: Where do you hope the project to be in 2023 — five years from now?

A: Red Scarf has grown tremendously as a movement since it began at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection in 2012. Five years from now, we hope that the community and support around Red Scarf will continue to grow throughout the province.

The Red Scarf pop-up in Covent Garden Market, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection 2017.
The Red Scarf pop-up in Covent Garden Market, Regional HIV/AIDS Connection 2017.

Our goal is to end HIV/AIDS stigma and make a positive impact in HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and treatment across the country.

Q: What is your favourite Bedouin Soundclash song?

A: Bedouin Soundclash has been releasing new music this year that we’re really excited about. When it comes to all-time favourites, we still love When the Night Feels My Song and Walls Fall Down.

Get your Soundclash here:
Red Scarf is presented by London’s Best Rock FM96 and proudly supported by Indiva. The third annual Red Scarf benefit concert will feature Bedouin Soundclash at London Music Hall on November 23 in support of clients at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. Tickets are $45 plus applicable fees.

Hardcopy tickets are available at London Music Hall and Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (186 King St.) Tickets are also available for purchase online at redscarf.ca. For information: contact Zena Currie at zcurrie@hivaidsconnection.ca.

James Stewart Reaney is a LondonFuse Contributor and the brains behind James’s Brander Newer Blogger.

Photos courtesy of the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection.

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