The 19th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, a vigil dedicated to the memory of AIDS victims, will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday at the Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 1500 State St.
The AIDS Project of the Central Coast – a Pacific Pride Foundation program that provides many AIDS/HIV related services in the county – is sponsoring the free event, which will include music, dance and art created by Santa Barbara youths. The artwork will be assembled into a quilt and displayed at the memorial in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to AIDS.
The theme of this year’s memorial is “Share Your Vision for a Brighter Tomorrow,” and its goals are to dispel the stigma of AIDS while attempting to heal those who have lost loved ones in Santa Barbara County, said Melissa Sylvester, the Pacific Pride Foundation office manager.
AIDS was first reported in the United States in 1981. Since then, 700,000 cases have been reported, but as many as 900,000 people in the U.S. may be infected with HIV.
“Our service is dedicated to over 400 men, women and children with HIV and AIDS on the Central Coast,” Sylvester said.
Janet Stanley, Pacific Pride Foundation executive director, said past Candlelight Memorials have included panels from a larger quilt, which, until this year, was displayed in San Francisco.
“[The quilt] has been moved to Atlanta. It’s a very powerful experience to see it … but we just can’t afford to ship it across the country,” she said.
Stanley said she hoped UCSB students would come to the memorial.
“Half of all new [HIV/AIDS] cases reported are people 25 years of age and younger,” she said. “It is hitting your generation really hard.”
The music at the event will include singing by the Inner Light Community Choir, the First Congregational Church and B’nai B’rith. Linda Nager Brandt will accompany on piano.