The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation co-hosted a World AIDS Day event at UCLA’s Art and Global Health Center on Monday, which united Mandela’s grandson Kweku Amuah and Taylor’s grandson Tarquin Wilding on stage to show their support.
With pictures of their respective grandparents working together on a screen behind them, the pair spoke about the importance of talking about HIV and what it means to “carry the torch” for the next generation of advocates.
“My grandfather and your beautiful grandmother started making sure we could kill the stigma around HIV and AIDS,” Amuah said as he discussed the importance of talking about HIV.
The former South African leader rose to become one of the world’s most important and effective campaigners against HIV/AIDS before his death on Dec. 5, 2013.
Despite Taylor’s death in 2011, her ongoing fight to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS has made a lasting impression. Even before the death of Taylor’s close friend Rock Hudson of AIDS-related causes in 1985, she was one of the first celebrities to spread awareness about the disease. However, his passing further galvanized her efforts, eventually launching The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991.
“She gave her voice to this cause completely,” said Wilding.
In 2013, Taylor’s son Christopher Wilding talked to PEOPLE about his mother’s work with her foundation: “She was trying to tell people, ‘Call upon your compassion rather than retreat behind your fear.’ ”
And with the help of Wilding and Amuah, both Taylor and Mandela’s passion for the cause will continue to live on.
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