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August 15, 2006 - Media Release

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 8 months ago

For Immediate Release


International AIDS Vigil, Thursday, August 17, 2006, 9 PM, Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto, Canada


Public Memorial Brings Together Local and International

Artists, Activists and Community Leaders

To Honour, Remember and Celebrate

Those Who Have Lost Their Lives to HIV/AIDS



Toronto, ON -- 15 August 2006 -- Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto will be filled with light as delegates from the XVI International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006) and the people of the City of Toronto come together to remember those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Thousands of free glow sticks will be distributed to the large crowd, which is expected to attend The International AIDS Vigil, Thursday, August 17 at 9 PM. A highlight of the XVI International AIDS Conference, The Vigil is an official project of The 519 Church Street Community Centre.


Laverne Monette, Executive Director of the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy, accompanied by grandmother Alita Sauvé, opens the memorial with the lighting of the Vigil candle, a symbol of loss – and hope. The candle will remain burning throughout the hour-long event, which features such well-known Canadian performers as Aaron Davis, Billy Newton Davis, Holly Cole and Sonya Coté along with musical groups Soul Influence and SPLASH, a company of young artists from the Music Theatre Program at the Etobicoke School of the Arts.


Other participants include HIV/AIDS activists, community leaders and politicians from Canada and around the world. Purnima Mane, Director of the Department of Social Mobilization and Information at UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), will be one of more than a dozen dignitaries present to light a candle for those communities most affected by the pandemic. A complete list of Vigil participants can be found at the end of this release.


This solemn and touching event is fashioned after the annual Toronto AIDS Candlelight Vigil, one of the longest running AIDS Vigils in the world.


Donations will be accepted with net proceeds going to the Positive Action Fund, which supports the emergency financial needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in Ontario. The event is sign language interpreted and wheelchair accessible.


The International AIDS Vigil is presented by the International AIDS Vigil Committee, a project of the 519 Church Street Community Centre, in cooperation with the XVI International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006). For more information, visit the International AIDS Vigil Web site at http://aidsvigil.pbwiki.com or call the info line at 416-392-6878, ext. 312.



International AIDS Vigil Readers (in order of appearance :

Laverne Monette, Executive Director, Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy

Peter Hayes, Executive Director, AIDS Committee of London

Tim McCaskell, Founding Member, AIDS ACTION NOW!

Darien Taylor, Director of Treatment Information, Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange

Camille Orridge, Co-chair, Board of Directors, AIDS Committee of Toronto / Executive Director, Toronto Community Care Access Centre

Purnima Mane, Director, Department of Social Mobilization and Information, UNAIDS


International AIDS Vigil Performers (in order of appearance) :

Aaron Davis and John Johnson – “For Those Who Did Not Return”

Billy Newton Davis – “I Have a Dream”

Sonya Coté, accompanied by Anne Bourne (cello)– “Christian’s Exit”

Soul Influence – “Koba Mnandi”

Holly Cole Trio – “Calling You”

SPLASH (Members of the Music Theatre Program at the Etobicoke School of the Arts) – Medley from “Rent” by Jonathan Larson, arranged by Marc Huff


International AIDS Vigil Candlelighters (in order of appearance) *

Penelope Holeton, Founder, The Teresa Group (Children)

Makoti Edwin, Youth Coordinator, Tanzania (Youth)

Ashraf Grimwood, Physician, South Africa (Prevalent Countries)

Kevin Barlow, Executive Director, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (Aboriginal)

The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, Canada (Hemophiliacs and Persons with Bleeding Disorders)

Jennifer Gatsi, Project Officer, International Council of Women, Namibia (Women and Girls)

Patrick Fahn, Architect, Toronto AIDS Memorial (Gay Men)

Carlos García de León, Latin American & Caribbean Council of AIDS Service Organizations (Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men)

Djelika Diallo, Representative, Danaya So, Mali (Sex Trade Workers)

David Fuller, Representative, PASAN, Prisoners' HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (Prisoners)

Dianne Tobin, President, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (Injection Drug Users)

The Honourable George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario (Persons Living in Poverty)

Shannon Soropia, Asian Community AIDS Services and Trans Programs, The 519 Church Street Community Centre (Transsexual/Transgenered/Intersexed/2-Spirited)

His Worship David Miller, Mayor of Toronto (Everyone Who Has Died of HIV/AIDS)

Shaun Mellors, Activist, South Africa (Everyone Living with HIV/AIDS)


*Bracketed notes indicate the community represented by the candlelighter



About the International AIDS Vigil Committee:

The International AIDS Vigil Committee is an official project of the 519 Church Street Community Centre. The Committee represents a diverse group of agencies, as well as the overall diversity of the Toronto AIDS Community.


About the International AIDS Conference:

The International AIDS Conference is convened every other year by the International AIDS Society (IAS), the world’s leading independent association of HIV professionals, with more than 7,000 members in 153 countries. The Toronto Local Host is a not-for-profit organization created specifically to host the Conference, and is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of leaders engaged in the Canadian response to HIV/AIDS.



- End –


NOTE FOR MEDIA: Due to the solemn nature of this event, certain restrictions have been put in place. All media MUST check-in at the Media Desk, located at the southeast corner of the square, directly across from the Hard Rock Café by 8:30 PM for a short briefing.



For media enquiries:

Julie Giles, Green Hat Marketing + Communications

Tel: 416-537-9774 / Cell: 416-878-5328

E-mail: julie(at)greenhatonline.com

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