SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — World AIDS Day was commemorated Wednesday at many Sacramento landmarks by being illuminated red — but the State Capitol was not.
Former Assemblymember Dennis Mangers told FOX40 he considers the lack of light discriminatory because the Capitol has been previously lit up pink for breast cancer along with the colors blue and green for various environmental causes.
“The LBGTQ community and the community at large, expected the State Capitol to be alight tonight in red. And I’m appalled and embarrassed that that is not the case,” Mangers said. “So we really wonder why on this very important night when we commemorate the loss of thousands of Sacramentans to HIV/AIDS, that that Capitol is not alight when the City Hall is, Arden Fair Mall is, businesses, Capitol Mall. Why not the State Capitol?”
Joyce Mitchell, president of the Capital City AIDS Fund, told FOX40 she spoke with Assemblymember Ken Cooley, the chair of the Rules Committee Wednesday after working the past 45 days to get the Capitol red.
“He tried explaining it to me. I still don’t think I understand,” Mitchell said.
Mangers said the decision to not light the Capitol might have been Cooley’s call.
“I have no understanding that the Rules Committee was convened, so it appears as if that Assemblyman Cooley might have made a unilateral decision not to light the Capitol,” Mangers said.
FOX40 reached out to Cooley’s office Wednesday but has yet to hear back.
“This is a year of dual pandemics. And we need to do something about it. The pandemics go hand in hand,” Mitchell said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, California has been hit harder than any other state by HIV/AIDS. More than 100,000 Californians have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS and over 130,000 are currently living with HIV.
“It’s very disturbing, it’s disheartening, and is discouraging because I thought we’d come a lot further than we are right now,” Mitchell said.