Audience members left their seats to come to the front of the Fountain Square Ballroom and light a candle for loved ones lost to AIDS. The World AIDS Day Ceremony was both a remembrance and a celebration, filled with performances to commend the progress made in AIDS research and awareness.
The 12th annual ceremony was presented Thursday evening by the Community AIDS Action Group of South Central Indiana.
CAAG President Emily Brinegar said the objective of the event is to honor the lives lost to AIDS, but also to celebrate life. The event consisted of a food reception, followed by performances by the Quarryland Men’s Chorus and the Windfall Dancers.
“I think the goal is offering an opportunity for people to reflect on those we have lost and celebrate their memories, hence the celebration piece, as well as to celebrate how far we've come in combating the disease while honoring and discussing the fact that there's still a lot of work to be done to end the epidemic,” Brinegar said.
The ceremony included a World AIDS Day Proclamation by the City of Bloomington. National World AIDS Day is Dec.1, but Bloomington celebrates on a different day each year.
The event ended with a remembrance ceremony, where audience member were invited to honor lost loved ones by lighting a candle and saying a few words.
CAAG member Meredith Short said the structure of the event is meant to lighten the tone of such a serious topic.
“We try to have something celebratory, because it’s different now and people live a long time and it’s manageable, but also trying to remember where we’ve been,” Short said.
This year was the 30th Annual World AIDS Day Nationwide. Bloomington’s event aims to work in accordance with the same mission as the worldwide celebration, Brinegar said.
“Primarily, we work to celebrate and remember those affected by AIDS but also provide education and support,” Brinegar said.
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