Every year in May, people around the world gather for the AIDS Candlelight Memorial to honor, reflect and remember those who have been lost to HIV and also to celebrate those still living with HIV.
This year on Sunday 21st May, over 70 people gathered at the AIDS Memorial in Robertson Park on a wet and rainy evening. This was the largest turnout for a number of years, despite the wet weather, which is a testament to the organisers who engaged so strongly with the community.
The event was opened by WA NAPWHA Representative Ryan Oliver, who was also the MC for the night, and included some emotive opera sung by a young baritone from the WA Opera, accompanied by Taui Pinker on keyboards. This was followed by a range of speakers including; The Honorable John Carey MLA - Member for Perth, Asanka Gunasekera - the Chairperson of the WA AIDS Council, visiting American long term survivor Lorenzo Jones and HIV Peer Educator from WAAC, Mark Reid. Lorenzo and Mark spoke about the impact of the epidemic as long term survivors and shared some challenges and insights into what living with HIV has been like for them over the past 30 years.
The night ended with the reading of a poem by Diane Lloyd, and some inspirational chanting from a group of monks. They set the scene for an eerily poignant and beautiful candle laying ceremony, which was a time for reflection, remembrance and some tears.
Thank you to NAPWHA for a well run event, and to all those who attended the memorial.