/R E P E A T -- 25th Anniversary AIDS Candlelight Vigil to commemorate long-term survivors, activists/

    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - Thousands of candles will be lit on June 25,
2009 in tribute to those who live with and have been lost to HIV/AIDS. This
year's 25th Anniversary AIDS Candlelight Vigil will focus on the courage and
commitment of long-term HIV/AIDS survivors as well as the broader HIV/AIDS
community who have shaped and sustained the fight for over 25 years. The Vigil
will take place at the AIDS Memorial in Cawthra Square Park, next to The 519
Church Street Community Centre, on Thursday evening, June 25 starting at 9 pm.
    The Vigil is held every year during the annual Pride Week. "We are
especially pleased to honour Long Term Survivors who have sustained this
battle over more than 25 years," said Kay Roesslein and Ryan Tremblay,
Co-Chairs of the Vigil Organizing Committee. "They and others who have long
toiled in the fight against HIV/AIDS exemplify the spirit of this year's Pride
Theme, Can't Stop, Won't Stop. We honour, remember, celebrate, and also
encourage and support them."
    "As we mark 25 years, the Vigil will feature many firsts in tribute to
the AIDS community," said Roesslein. "A Vigil song commissioned specifically
for and donated to the Vigil will be performed by the award winning songwriter
Glenn Marais of Toronto." In addition to his work as an accomplished song
writer, Marais works to raise funds for the Cotlands Orphanage in Cape Town,
South Africa.
    For the first time in the history of the Vigil, three co-hosts will emcee
the ceremony together including Juno award winner and long term survivor Billy
Newton Davis. He will be joined by long time survivor and activist Shari
Margolese and her son Quinn. Margolese's and her son's participation as vigil
co-hosts marks the first time that a mother and her child (teenage son) have
co-hosted the ceremony.
    The candle lighting ceremony will illuminate the shared values and
stories of survivors, activists and communities who have come together in the
face of the pandemic for over 25 years. The program will include many special
guests reflecting the community's tremendous work, passion and dedication. The
passing of long-time activist James Kreppner and Nitto Marquez from ACT are
among many more names of those honoured this year.
    For the special anniversary, organizers unveiled a new logo designed by
Ryan Tremblay, Co-Chair of the Vigil Organizing Committee. "The new logo
symbolizes a tribute to the pioneers of the AIDS Vigil and the iconic AIDS
Memorial wall," said Tremblay, "in recognition of the special sacred place the
AIDS Memorial and Vigil hold in our community."
    The AIDS Candlelight Vigil is an open community event held annually at
the AIDS Memorial to remember, honour and celebrate the people who have died
of AIDS or AIDS related illnesses, or who have given their lives in the fight
against HIV/AIDS. The Vigil is a multi-cultural spiritual event accepting and
respecting people of all cultures, faiths, traditions and communities. The
Vigil welcomes all people who have been infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and
embraces anyone who has experienced a loss or losses due to HIV/AIDS.

For further information:

For further information: Kay Roesslein, Co-Chair, Organizing Committee:
kroesslein@loftcs.org, (416) 929-6228; Ryan Tremblay, Co-Chair, Organizing
Committee: ryan.tremblay@gmail.com, (416) 880-9428

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The 519 Church Street Community Centre

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