HRA to host World AIDS day event

CAFCA | December 22, 2016 |


The city’s Human Resources Agency Inc. will mark World AIDS Day on Thursday with a program of awareness and spirituality at South Church.

HRA’s Division of Health and Wellness will host the program, running from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the downtown church’s Cooper Hall. World AIDS Day is recognized on the first day of December every year to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of the HIV infection.

There are currently over 400 people living with HIV/AIDS in the city of New Britain.

Leticia Mangual, director of HRA’s Division of Health and Wellness, describes this year’s celebration “as more festive, a celebration of life. But we will also honor those who have died from this virus and raise awareness in the community. We can’t afford to be complacent.”

Spiritual leaders from several faith-based organizations, along with Interim Pastor Jane Rowe of South Church, will lead the audience in prayers and in the candle-lighting ceremony. Clients are also scheduled to share their stories.

The keynote speaker, Italo Medelius-Marsano from ACTUP-New York, will discuss the work that remains in spite of the progress made in the fight against AIDS. ACT UP, founded in 1987, is a coalition that educates, advocates and demonstrates to end the AIDS crisis.

Medelius-Marsano serves on ACT UP’s Strategic Planning Committee, Youth Homelessness Committee and Youth Steering Committee. In this capacity he advocates for access to care, housing for HIV-positive populations, HIV prevention and treatment and workplace rights. He is credited as a powerful advocate for worker’s rights and the LGBT community.

Kecia Holden, an award-winning international Christian recording artist will help kick-off the program. According to HRA, Holden is a dynamic worship leader, successful entrepreneur and certified makeup artist. An active community leader, she advocates for people living with HIV/AIDS, especially African-American females.

The public is welcome to attend the free program. Parking is available on area streets or in the Szczesny Garage on Chestnut Street.