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AIDS Vigil marks 30 years

'The goal is always to remember, honour and celebrate'

The annual AIDS Vigil in Cawthra Square Park will light up the AIDS Memorial with thousands of candles to remember and celebrate the people whose lives have been claimed by HIV and those living with and affected by the disease today.

The hour-long program will feature a diverse array of performers who have chosen works to reflect the vigil’s theme of Families: Chosen Families, Biological Families and All Families Living with HIV/AIDS.

Although this year marks the 30th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis and the 20th anniversary of the AIDS ribbon, the vigil will not dwell on these events; instead, it will focus on the global AIDS family.

“Of course the anniversary will be acknowledged, but it’s not our main theme,” says Todd Ross, executive director of Casey House and part of the vigil’s organizing committee. “The goal is always to remember, honour and celebrate.”

The vigil will include performances by orchestral musicians The Brass Conspiracy; author and musician Vivek Shraya; ballads by Sarita De-Souza, Andrew Bathory and Emilio Zarris; and a performance by the Regent Park School Seniors’ Choir.

“Usually a couple thousand people show up,” Ross says. “The park is always full, so arrive early to get a good seat.”