Indiana: Memorial Puts a Face on Victims of AIDS
May 23, 2006
On Sunday, Fort Wayne joined some 3,000 communities in 85 countries participating in the 23rd annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. The event seeks to honor those who have died from HIV/AIDS, show support for those living with the virus, and raise awareness about the disease.
The commemoration in Fort Wayne was held at the Northeast Indiana AIDS Memorial, a red brick, ribbon-shaped sidewalk in Lindenwood Cemetery. The ceremony featured music, guest speakers from local churches and organizations, and a reading of the names of 200 Fort Wayne residents who have died of HIV/AIDS. Seven new bricks engraved with the names of those who recently died were added to 24 other engraved markers. This was the area's third participation in the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial.
"It's been a phenomenal effort," said Otis Vincent, cofounder and president of the Northeast Indiana AIDS Memorial. "Every walk of life, rich or poor, black or white, Christian or non-Christian" is affected, said his son Michael Vincent, who helped found the memorial in honor of his brother, Stephen, who died from AIDS in 1995. "This corner of Indiana is more conservative and doesn't view it like that," he said.
"People think AIDS is everyone else's responsibility," said Shannon Williams, the memorial's vice president. "That is the scariest thing of all because if it's not in the front of your mind on a daily basis, it won't be on the front of your mind to take precautions against it."
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette
05.22.06; Ashley Rhodebeck
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.