2018 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial


    Hosted by Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation

    “Reflecting on our Past
    Preparing for our Future
    Join communities around the world in the largest grassroots movement to end the HIV epidemic.”

    “Tucson has continuously participated in this global HIV/AIDS remembrance event every year since it began in 1983. It is the largest AIDS awareness activity in the World, with more than 1,200 communities participating each year on the 3rd Sunday in May.

    There will be entertainment, a symbolic Candle Blessing and Lighting by some of Tucson’s spiritual and faith leaders, a Calling Out of Names by those attending to speak the name(s) of loved ones lost to the disease, a Testimonial shared by a local Poz Warrior, Quilt panels on display from the Names project/AIDS Memorial Quilt and our local interactive public AIDS Memorial, AIDS Ribbon Tucson, will be on-site during the ceremony and afterward so folks can add messages and names to the 130-foot long red fabric ribbon.

    Sponsors for the local event include: Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN), AIDS Ribbon Tucson, Fourth Avenue Merchants Association and The Historic Y. Water generously donated by Sue Hurley in memory of Anthony Martinez.

    The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is much more than just a memorial, it serves as a community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV and AIDS. With more than 33 million people Worldwide living with HIV today, the AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.

    For more details about the 2018 Tucson AIDS Candlelight Memorial, please contact the event chair, Vera Bowlby, at 520.547.6144 or vbowlby@saaf.org”




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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).


    1. About 30 people at this moving memorial service to remember those who have died from AIDS. Monique Vallery, Events Director for 4th Ave. Merchants was MC, with welcome by SAAF Exe.Director Wendell Hicks, who dreams of a “future free of HIV/AIDS”. Ed Coderre spoke of living with AIDS for 19 years, hopes to see his grandchildren grow up. Dr. Nagalingam of El Rio Health Clinic said that 1.9 M diagnosed since 1980’s, but retro viral therapy started early can really help HIV patients, 1.1 M living with HIV now in US. Other speakers from SAAF and TIHAN were then followed by 5 faith community reps from Cornerstone Fellowship, Beautiful Savior Lutheran church, St. Francis UMC, Congregation Or Hadash, St. Phillips Episcopal church who did readings of cure, hope & spiritual blessings for those & family members affected with HIV/AIDS. Program ended with remembrances from Wendell and then calling out of names of those who have passed or are living w/ HIV, then somber candle lighting. Lovely songs were sung by Curt Beall — “Keep me in your heart for a while” and “I Remember You”. I called out name of Leo Brown my gay friend who died of AIDS in 1991, way before any treatments were known. Peaceful time tonight with sweet tinkle of blue-glass wind chimes on the 2nd floor of the Historic Y courtyard. CD 2 candidate Mary Matiella was present as well.


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