by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
On Monday, December 1, five Seattle non-profit AIDS services providers joined together in a powerful collaboration: the 12th Annual Stronger Together World AIDS Day Breakfast.
The annual December 1 breakfast was held at the Washington State Convention Center (800 Convention Place) from 7:30 to 9 a.m., and although it was free to attend, each attendee is encouraged to donate a minimum of $150. The largest benefit of its kind in the Northwest, the breakfast is a fundraiser for Gay City Health Project, Seattle Counseling Service, and CareTeams a Program of Samaritan Center, with support from Inspire Youth Project and CMCH (Center for Multi-Cultural Health).
The breakfast is an opportunity for donors to make the strongest impact possible by supporting the entire network of AIDS service providers in Seattle.
'Last year the event brought in more than $100,000 for the combined agencies, which provides care, support and most importantly - hope to those living with HIV/AIDS,' Stronger Together World AIDS Day Breakfast officials report. The total amount raised at this year's well-attended breakfast has not yet been finalized.
At the breakfast, each year, attendees honor those we've lost, commit to help those who are living with HIV/AIDS, and celebrate the power of our community in making a difference.
'Your support will help change lives,' promise officials.
On Monday, Entrance Music was played on the piano by local Gay piano man and vocalist Victor Janusz, who also opened the morning program with the song 'Somewhere (There's a Place for Us)' from West Side Story.
The Emcee for the event was Molly Shen, KOMO 4 News anchor, weekdays at 11 a.m. and at 5 p.m. Shen talked about the difference in how the media reports HIV/AIDS stories now, versus 30 years ago.
Seattle Gay News Publisher George Bakan and Health Educator Vanessa Grandberry from the Center for Multi-Cultural Health were the recipients of this year's HIV/AIDS Service Awards, presented by Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.
Keynote Speaker this year was Phill Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Black AIDS Institute. Prior to founding the Institute, Wilson served as the AIDS Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles from 1990 to 1993, the Director of Policy and Planning at AIDS Project Los Angeles from 1993 to 1996. He was co-chair of the Los Angeles County HIV Health Commission from 1990 to 1995, and was an appointee to the HRSA AIDS Advisory Committee from 1995 to 1998.
Wilson was the coordinator of the International Community Treatment and Science Workshop at the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th International AIDS Conferences in Geneva, Switzerland; Durban, South Africa; Barcelona, Spain; Bangkok, Thailand; and Toronto, Canada.
Wilson was the co-founder of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum and the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention. He has been involved in the founding of a number of other AIDS service organizations and community-based organizations, including the Chris Brownlie Hospice, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the National Minority AIDS Council, the Los Angeles County Gay Men of Color Consortium, and the CAEAR Coalition.
The Ford Foundation named Wilson one of the 20 award recipients for the Leadership for a Changing World, in 2001. He was a member of the U.S. delegation to the 1994 World AIDS Summit in Paris, and has worked extensively on HIV/AIDS policy, research, prevention, and treatment issues in Russia, Latvia, the Ukraine, the UK, Holland, Germany, France, Mexico, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, India, and Botswana.
He has published articles in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, LA Weekly, Essence, Ebony, Vibe, Jet, POZ, HIV+ and other periodicals.
In his World AIDS Day Breakfast speech Wilson reminded everyone that the HIV/AIDS epidemic cannot be defeated in just one zip code; AIDS is not contained to a single city or country. In addition, he spoke about his support for PrEP, or Truvada, and the fact that viral suppression is keeping others from becoming infected. More education is needed to keep young black men from getting and spreading HIV/AIDS, too, said Wilson.
Following Wilson's speech, a video presentation by Yoyostring Creative Media featuring the executive directors from the benefiting nonprofit organizations played while attendees filled out donor cards.
The 12th Annual Stronger Together World AIDS Day Breakfast was presented by Wells Fargo. The December 1 breakfast marked the third year Wells Fargo returned as presenting sponsor of the event.
This year's Diamond Sponsor was MCW Events; Gold Sponsors: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fred Hutch, Gilead Sciences, Macy's; Silver Sponsors: Adams Insurance Agency, Community: A Walgreens Pharmacy, Dignity Memorial, Goodwill, Kelley-Ross Pharmacy, Pride Foundation, Seattle Children's Hospital, Steamworks Baths, Valant and Community Sponsors: 1st Security Bank, Group Health, Pacific Continental Bank, United Reprographics.
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