WORLD AIDS DAY2005
|by Bridin Reynolds|
|Still Walking After all these Years
December 1 Candlelight Walk of Remembrance and Protest The Walk this year will begin in the CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard, 37 Baltimore Avenue and will conclude at Epworth United Methodist Church, 20 Baltimore Avenue
In a greater world, we could promise cures and true comfort to those suffering from radical diseases, including AIDS. In a perfect world, we might promise assurance and a measure of dignity all of humanity deserves. In the present world, weas a communityseemingly may offer mostly hope, help and remembrance.
World AIDS Day is commemorated globally each December, and Rehoboth Beach is the site of one of the most powerful services owing to the dedication of the Sussex County AIDS Council and CAMP Rehoboth. On Thursday, Dec. 1, World AIDS Day will be observed in downtown Rehoboth.
Commencing at 6:30 p.m., hundreds are expected to gather at the CAMP Rehoboth courtyard and proceed on the "Candlelight Walk of Remembrance and Protest." Construction work on the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand provoked the change in the starting point, but the essence of the event will remain the same.
Baltimore Avenue will be alive with candle lights and memories of those who succumbed to AIDS as participants proceed to Epworth United Methodist Church for a Service of Hope.
It has been nearly three decades since the world began to respond to the AIDS epidemic. As the medical community stepped up on many levels, pharmaceuticals have improved. However, an irony exists that this small step towards progress has drawn away from the attention needed to quell the tide of AIDS. No complete strides have been made to keep the disease at bay.
With this year's theme, "Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise" organizers hope to reignite a sense of urgency concerning the AIDS epidemic.
"Certainly we may be past a time when there were several funerals every week. Maybe people are not dying as quickly, but they are still very sick," said CAMPsafe Director Sal Seeley. CAMPsafe promotes awareness of risks and offers AIDS testing. "Better medication does not stop AIDS from being a vicious killer," Seeley added.
SCAC Executive Director Steve Twilley concurs and hopes World AIDS Day events will bolster momentum for eradicating the disease.
"This disease is still very much here, yet there is a great deal of complacency now that increased medication allows people to live longer," said Twilley, noting that funding has been cut on state and federal levels in recent years. According to Twilley, of the HIV/AIDS patients SCAC serves, in Sussex County, over 200 are living at the poverty level.
"While words such as 'chronic illness' make us feel better than 'death sentence,' AIDS remains a reality in need of address.
"Part of those unfinished commitments are the promises that national and world leaders have made to stop AIDS and provide the means for the services needed by those who are HIV positive," said Twilley. "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise" is a theme championed by the World AIDS Campaign which will permeate not just the Rehoboth Beach event but events across the globe. The clear intention is to establish an international campaign to hold government leaders and policy makers accountable and take action for commitments promised to battle AIDS.
"This is an opportunity for us to renew the efforts so many have initiated," said CAMP Rehoboth President Murray Archibald. Archibald has written and arranged a dramatic reading for the ceremony. As the Epworth handbell choir and talented vocalists perform, hearts and minds will certainly be touched. As we are given this opportunity December 1 to hold hands and don red ribbons, optimism will compete with sorrow. But given the gravity of the ongoing battle against AIDS we might also consider where we will be and what we will do December 2.
Schedule of Events
5:00-6:30 pm Reception for World AIDS Day exhibit by Washington DC artist Joseph Dress at the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center, 37 Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. Coffee provided by The Coffee Mill.
6:30 pm Pre-Walk gathering in the CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard, 37 Baltimore Avenue.
6:45 pm Candlelight Walk of Remembrance and Protest
7:00 pm Program continues at Epworth United Methodist Church.
7:45 pm (or when the service ends) Light supper at the church, provided by the Blue Moon Restaurant.
For information, to volunteer, or to have the name of a family member or friend who has died from AIDS added to the list of names to be read at the event, call the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center 302-227-5620 or Sussex County AIDS Council (SCAC) 302-644-1090.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 15 November 23, 2005