The Puerto Rican Cultural Center's ( PRCC ) Vida/SIDA held its 28th annual World AIDS Day event.
The event started with a candlelight vigil and offerings to an altar at La Casita de Don Pedro, a tribute replica of a single-room, traditional Puerto Rican-style house celebrating the Puerto Rican nationalist leader Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos, after whom it is named.
According to the organizers, World AIDS Day on Paseo Boricua began in 1988 as a way for Chicago's Puerto Rican community to celebrate the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS. Also, it was a reminder that there is still much work to do if we are to live an AIDS-free world.
The vigil processionled by Maritxa Vidal, Chicago co-chair of TransLatina Coalition and director of health education and community marketing and outreach at the Puerto RIcan Cultural Center's VIDA/SIDAproceeded down Division Street, also known as Paseo Boricua ( loosely translated as "Boricua ( Puerto Rican ) Walkway" ), to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.
Ricardo Jimenez, director of VIDA/SIDA, welcomed the attendees and introduced the speakers of the evening. They included Esther Morales, case manager at Erie Family Health; Sanford E. Gaylord, regional resource consultant, HIV/AIDS Regional Resource Network Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and keynote speaker Dr. Tahseen J. Siddiqui, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Norwegian American Hospital.
Siddiqui presented "The Odyssey of HIVEpidemic: From Despair & Death to Longevity & Life." Janeida Rivera, program coordinator at PRCC-VIDA/SIDA, emceed the event, and there were special performances by Milani Ninja and Naomi Ninga.
For more information about the work of Vida/SIDA, visit Facebook.com/vidasida. For more information about the PRCC, visit PRCC-chgo.org .