HIV - AIDS

This Week in Columbia History: 'A Labor of Love' raised money for AIDS

This Week in Columbia History: 'A Labor of Love' raised money for AIDS

In 1988, in the midst of an HIV/AIDS epidemic that took life after life in the arts community, Columbia dancer Carolyn Kelemen returned home after seeing an AIDS benefit in New York City and decided to take action.

“This was during the epidemic, when dancers were dying left and right,” Kelemen, now in her mid-70s, said. “I’ve been a dancer all my life. … I said: I’ve got to do something about this.”

Kelemen organized a benefit performance for Sept. 5, 1988, a cabaret mash-up of local performers who volunteered their time. Held on Labor Day, she called it “A Labor of Love.” The concert, which raised money for the Howard County AIDS Alliance, was held every few years until...

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