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Community college hosted stirring HIV/AIDS vigil
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Community college hosted stirring HIV/AIDS vigil

by James Whitely - SGN Contributing Writer

What can be said about the power of a vigil in remembrance of those we have lost to HIV/AIDS? Words can't do it justice. On October 10, about 100 people gathered in Seattle Central Community College's South Plaza for a memorable and emotional candlelight vigil.

Opening with musical performances from local artists, the vigil featured a variety of speakers, all with very unique talking points that were entirely relevant to the event. Local activist Claudine Fisher spoke on health care and a video presentation on HIV/AIDS vaccinations was played as the local chapter of Hope Takes Action, an HIV vaccine trials organization, manned a table.

The whole affair was rich in local history. One of the organizers, Lisa Berendts, said to the crowd, "We're here tonight not only to reach out, but as a call to action, together on a local level within our community."

A handful of sisters from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Abbey of St. Joan gave a history of their organization, which has been a leader in HIV/AIDS education, awareness, and prevention since its inception.

The final speaker was the editor of Seattle Gay News, George Bakan, who gave an emotionally charged speech also rich in local history. "There aren't that many grey-haired Gay men," said Bakan, as he detailed the fact that many in his generation have been lost to AIDS.

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