Friday, May 30, 2008

25th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial

May 23rd 2008 marked the 25th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park, Manila where hundreds of people commemorate the theme, “Never Give Up, Never Forget”. It unveiled the experiences of collective efforts and reminds us that we must learn from the past and never give up as we enter a new generation with the disease.

The Candlelight Memorial began in 1983 during a time of confusion and misconception about a mysterious disease sweeping the gay population in San Francisco in the United States. Four young men named Bobbi Campbell, Bobby Reynolds, Dan Turner and Mark Feldman coordinated a small vigil and marched down the Castro District to City Hall behind a banner reading “Fighting for Our Lives.” This drew thousands, beginning a candlelight movement that would inspire other people living with HIV/AIDS in other countries to bring the disease into the light for communities and national leaders, to foster support, and move people to action. The Candlelight Memorial was managed by an organization named Mobilization against AIDS until the Council began organizing the event in 2000.*

Rich in attendance were civil society organizations, students, men in uniform, and government agencies who all showed their support to those living with HIV and AIDS as well as to remember those who have lost their lives to the disease.

Aside from singing, dancing, and testimonials from People Living with HIV (PLHIV), the evening also highlighted the unfolding of hand-made quilts led by members of Pinoy Plus Association in remembrance of those who have died from AIDS. Afterwards, representatives from different sectors lined up and took turns to light their candles. The Grandstand was filled with light of remembrance, community mobilization, and global solidarity.

* Excerpts from

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