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On May 18, some 30 SGI-Philippines members participated in the 2014 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial organized by the Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro AIDS Network (MOCAN). The event, themed "Let's Keep the Light on HIV," took place at the Misamis Oriental Provincial Capitol Grounds, Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao, and brought together both government and civil society agencies to raise public awareness about AIDS and express support for those battling the illness.
The event involved a parade and, with the majority of participants wearing red T-shirts and holding candles, the forming of a "human red ribbon." The red ribbon is an internationally recognized symbol of awareness and support of those living with HIV and AIDS who, as of 2012 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), numbered more than 35 million people worldwide. During the event, prayers for all those who have lost their lives due to HIV and AIDS were offered by representatives of various faith groups.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is one of the oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV awareness. Started in 1983, 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.
Commenting on their participation in the event, one SGI-Philippines member said, "This event was filled with learning and realization for me that the life of every person in our society is supremely important, whatever his or her background is, without discrimination."
[Adapted from an article from the SGI-Philippines website; photo courtesy of SGI-Philippines]
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