Father Joseph Brown

“Beyond the grave, we will never forget,” Father Joseph Brown, professor of Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, said. “We turn to one another across vast differences. We hear one another in the silence.”

The Southern Illinois AIDS Coalition and the Tri-State Alliance co-sponsored the 37th annual International AIDS Candlelight Vigil online on Sunday, May 17. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is an annual event that commemorates the lives lost to AIDS.

“Beyond the grave, we will never forget,” Father Joseph Brown, professor of Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, said. “We turn to one another across vast differences. We hear one another in the silence.”

The memorial is an opportunity to honor those who dedicated their lives to helping people living with and affected by HIV and continue to mobilize our communities in solidarity.

“We would not allow sex and love to recoil during this epidemic,” regional trans activist Lagina Crim said.

The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) started the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial in 1983. Since then, thousands of events have been organized across the world, such as motorbike rallies by women living with HIV and uplifting ceremonies in places of worship and workplaces.

“The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as a community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV and AIDS,” GNP+ stated. 

“With almost 38 million people living with HIV today, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generation.”

The service can be viewed online at tinyurl.com/AIDSCandlelight2020 or on the Facebook page of the Tri-State Alliance. Participants volunteered from throughout the Tri-State to make the video. For more information, visit www.TSAGL.org.

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