Last night, over 175 Louisvillians came together to commemorate World AIDS Day. The evening, at Central Presbyterian Church, started with a reception at 6:00 PM filled with warm greetings, hugs, and smiles from those living with, or somehow affected by, the disease.
At 7:00 PM, the memorial portion of the service began with remarks from Daniel Coe, president of the AIDS Service Center Coalition, Inc. He shared that in the three decades since HIV/AIDS has been diagnosed, that 30 million people worldwide have died from the disease. Currently, 34 million are living with the disease. He added that events like World AIDS Day help share the vision of the United Nations to have "zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths" by putting a face on HIV/AIDS. VOICES of Kentuckiana followed with stirring performances of "Stars" and "Seasons of Love."
The AIDS Interfaith Ministries of Kentuckiana then presented the 2011 Sister Mary Bennet Cecil Award to Central Presbyterian Church. For the last eleven years, the church has partnered with AIDS Interfaith Ministries of Kentuckiana in hosting a monthly fellowship dinner for those infected with the disease and their families and caregivers. The church also hosts life skills workshops.
Members of the community, including caregivers, activists, pastors, and those living with HIV/AIDS shared personal stories of how they are helping to put a face on HIV/AIDS.
A Litany of Remembrance was recited by those in attendance, a memory candle was lit, and then the 433 names of those local people who have lost their battle with HIV/AIDS were memorialized.
Aaron Guldenschuh, the chair of the 2011 World AIDS Day in Louisville, closed the service by noting that December 1st is World AIDS Day, as is the next day, and the next day, and every day.
Photo courtesy of www.asccinc.org.
* The views expressed in this article do not represent the views of the Social Security Administration of the United States Government. They are solely the view of Travis Myles in my personal capacity. I am not acting as an agent or representative of the Social Security Administration of the United States Government in this activity. There is no expressed or implied endorsement of views or activities of Travis Myles by either the Social Security Administration or the United States.