East Bay Getting to Zero

The AIDS Memorial Garden will honor the lives lost from the HIV epidemic to ensure that we never lose sight of the foundation on which East Bay Getting to Zero’s collaborative work is built.

The purpose of the AIDS Memorial Garden is to memorialize those lost to HIV/AIDS and serve as a community healing space for people in the East Bay who have been significantly impacted by HIV, including surviving family members and friends. 

The vision for our garden is to become a space for all generations to learn the history of the HIV epidemic and honor the hard-fought successes of their forebears.

The East Bay AIDS Memorial Garden will be located within The Gardens at Lake Merritt:
666 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA 94610


Support our program

The East Bay does not currently have an AIDS memorial garden or other public physical space dedicated to honoring those lost to HIV and the resilience of survivors. Your donations will help build the garden sanctuary as we continue our fight to end stigma and the HIV epidemic.

For information on major gift opportunities, contact Yamini Oseguera-Bhatnagar at yamini@ebgtz.org to discuss your contribution options.


Background

The East Bay AIDS memorial garden project is a collaboration between East Bay Getting to Zero (EBGTZ) and the Gardens at Lake Merritt. 

EBGTZ’s people living with HIV subcommittee (known as the Poz Plus working group) initiated the idea of establishing an AIDS memorial space in the East Bay in 2021. They identified a need for space that honors the East Bay HIV affected community, memorializes people lost to HIV/AIDS and inspires an environment for healing and reflection. 

In 2022, with the support of the EBGTZ core team, EBGTZ steering committee, and the Oakland Mayor’s office, the Poz Plus group identified partners, stakeholders, and a space for the future garden. The East Bay AIDS memorial garden will be located within The Gardens at Lake Merritt at 666 Bellevue Ave in Oakland. Within the Gardens, it will be nestled between the Mediterranean and Bonsai Gardens, next to a waterfall, a creek and a bridge. 

The collective vision for the East Bay AIDS memorial garden is that it will be an ode to people living with HIV, in memoriam of those lost to the epidemic, and a space for intergenerational connection and dialogue about the legacy of the HIV and LGBTQ+ movements.

Garden planning 

Preliminary architectural design (pictured below) for the East Bay memorial garden has been developed by Sera Design, an Oakland based employee-owned architectural design firm. 

The garden is being planned to contain vegetation with an emphasis on native plants and pollinator species to support growth and sustainability. Additionally, the area will include structures for seating, areas dedicated to memorials, educational elements discussing the history of HIV in the East Bay and an environment to invoke reflection and peace. 

Tentative timeline

The East Bay AIDS memorial garden is slated to open to the public in 2024. In preparation for opening day, the AIDS memorial garden team at East Bay Getting to Zero will be engaged in planning, coordinating and organizing. Here is a tentative timeline and list of activities:

Quarter 1, 2023

  • Refinement of architectural plans, including landscape, structures and art
  • Preparation for presentation to City of Oakland’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee
  • Hire project manager
  • Continuation of community meetings 

Quarter 2, 2023

  • Presentation to City of Oakland’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee to seek approval for plans
  • Community town hall to present approved plans and seek stakeholder input
  • EBGTZ AIDS memorial garden team and Poz Plus group begin developing content for educational elements of the garden: collecting local HIV history, planning format for sharing the information in the garden. 
  • Continuation of community meetings 

Quarter 3, 2023

  • Enlist contractor to begin work on the approved plans for the garden
  • Construction work begins
  • Finalize educational elements of the garden 
  • Confirm artistic elements and select artist
  • Continuation of community meetings 

Quarter 4, 2023

  • Construction work continues
  • Continuation of community meetings and volunteer work days

Quarter 1 & 2, 2024

  • Construction complete
  • Garden opens to the public with a grand opening event.

Meet the team:

Jesse Brooks
Gabriel Jimenez
Jamie Nguyen
Le’Shrea Ebony
Ramirez Brown
Sylvia Young
Terri Lynn Haggins
Yamini Oseguera-Bhatnagar
ZJ Eskman
Sami Lubega

We are always looking for committed community members to join our efforts.

Please email zj@ebgtz.org to learn how to get involved.