The Candlelight Memorial
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordinated by the Global Network of People living with HIV is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV/AIDS awareness in the world. Started in 1983, over most of the world the Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May and is led by a coalition of some 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries hosting local memorials to honor the lives lost and raise social consciousness about HIV.
The Candlelight is also much more than just a memorial. It provides opportunities for leadership development, policy advocacy, partnerships, and improvement of community mobilization skills. With 33 million people living with HIV today, the Candlelight continues to serve as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers, and giving hope to new generations.
Vancouver first participated in this event in 1984. For many years Vancouver held its memorial the Sunday after the international event to avoid the Victoria Day long weekend. The first few memorials took place in Cathedral Square. For over a decade, the memorial was held in the West End at Alexandra Park, then was moved to the site of the Vancouver AIDS Memorial on English Bay and buses were chartered to ensure participation from people in the Downtown East Side and East End. This year, the memorial will take place at the Carnegie Centre.