AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) mourns the loss of six HIV/AIDS advocates who died July 17 when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border after being shot down by a missile. The scientists and researchers, including former President of the International AIDS Society Dr. Joep Lange, were en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, which began on July 20. The senseless act of violence claimed the lives of all 298 passengers and crew on board the doomed flight.
“To have so many people who have crossed the globe devoting their lives to helping humanity cut down in this fashion is an unspeakable tragedy,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Our heart breaks for their families and loved ones.”
AHF offered a memorial site outside the AHF Department of Medicine on Western Avenue in Los Angeles on July 18 in remembrance of the lost delegates. The memorial space remained open throughout the day as the public brought flowers and signed a poster with loving notes to the lost humanitarians and scientists.
“This is a moment for quiet reflection on the meaning of our lives and that of our loved ones. Now is also a time to renew our commitment to humanity. We honor the dead best by continuing to fight for the living and truly appreciating one another,” Weinstein said of the memorial site.
To read comments from AHF staff honoring those humanitarian lives lost aboard MH17, click here to view the ongoing AHF Tribute to the victims.