On December 1, 2017 over 200 friends and supporters of PCAF gathered to honor World AIDS Day and to commemorate 30 years of Courage, Compassion, and Resilience.
A video highlighting some of the challenges and successes of the past 30 years was made especially for the event. Jeannie Darneille, founding Executive Director, talked about the early years of the epidemic and the relentless strength and spirit it took to push forward despite heartbreak and setbacks. Current Executive Director Erick Seelbach shared how far we have come in this fight, and how the courage, compassion and resiliency of the early years are still very present in our work.
The printed program for the evening included stories shared by people over the years as well as a list of names in memoriam to those who have died since PCAF opened its doors in 1987. (click below to view)
The event at the Star Center brought together current and former clients, staff, board members, volunteers, supporters, and community members for an evening of reflection, connection and celebration. Guests viewed curated archives from events including AIDS Walks, Dining Out for Life, World AIDS Days, and other events. Artwork representing the AIDS epidemic and PCAF’s history was also on display. Take a look at our photo gallery from the event!
City Council member Ryan Mello served as the emcee. Ryan shared some of the reasons why he is still committed to this cause, and why he and all of us care so deeply about ending HIV. (00:7:30)
Ryan led a moment of silence to commemorate World AIDS Day, which was followed by a moving performance of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” by Fred Triplett, former PCAF case manager. (00:13:30)
John Weisman, Secretary of Health, reflected on our individual collective histories of the HIV epidemic. Washington has been progressive leader since in this fight since the first case of AIDS was documented in Washington in 1982, and in Pierce County in 1983.
Dr. Weisman reminded us of the need to recommit to the cause, and to pull together to challenge health disparities, to win the battle against stigma, and end AIDS. “Let’s keep caring for each other proving that we are stronger together.” (00:21:15)
Clients Joe and Viki courageously shared their personal stories of living with HIV. (00:44:00)
Erick shared PCAFs vision for the coming years and what it will take to end HIV once and for all, and reaffirmed PCAF’s commitment to combat HIV stigma and to end racism in our community and beyond. (1:07:00)
Watch the live recording of the event.
Tacoma’s Poet Laureate Kellie Richardson wrote and shared a piece to commemorate the event.