Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bobby Clarke, CEO of New York based Irie Jam Media Group, announced recently that his organisation will collaborate with Team Carib Connect to host a candle light vigil on Saturday, December 4th (three days after World AIDS Day is formally observed) at the Dream Restaurant & Lounge Parking Lot, on Merrick Blvd and 235th St. in Laurelton Queens.

"The event is being held particularly to support Caribbean nationals in the Diaspora who are infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS" Clarke said. The theme for the inaugural candlelight vigil will be 'Safety First…Yes We Care.'  The event, which will be broadcast live on Irie Jam Radio 93.5FM, WVIP in the tri-state area, will bring much needed visibility to yet another plight of Caribbean nationals in the Diaspora who are stricken by the dreaded disease.

"HIV/AIDS has, and continues to affect many Caribbean families in the Diaspora. We are elated that Irie Jam decided to partner with us on this most worthwhile and timely venture. This provides us a more powerful medium to connect with our brothers and sisters in the tri-state area regarding critical awareness efforts," Team Carib Connect spokesperson Kimsue Byan said.

According to data released by The World Health Organization (WHO), there were 33.4 million people globally living with HIV in 2008. An estimated 2.7 million were newly infected with the virus and 2 million died of AIDS that year. Sub-Saharan Africa (the region most heavily affected by HIV) accounted for 67% of HIV infections worldwide, 68% of new HIV infections among adults and 91% of new HIV infections among children. The region also accounted for 72% of the world’s AIDS-related deaths in 2008.

While the candle light vigil will be the most high profile collaboration between Team Carib Connect and Irie Jam media, both organizations have worked together in the past, jointly participating in numerous charity health based ventures to raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer, Autism, Sickle Cell, Lupus, and Diabetes.

"As 2010 comes to a close", Bryan said "the decision was made to make a stronger public appeal to the community with a view to help grow the number of community participants at these charity events. Let's light a candle for a person living with the HIV/AIDS virus and the countless lives that have been lost in the past. Even if you do not know someone personally who has been directly affected by the virus, always remember that there are many amongst us who have, and will die alone. Please come out and light a candle for them all" Bryan reiterated.

The event will have as an added feature, a special live performance from reggae group "New Kingston" which has been generating quite a buzz most recently on the West Coast and throughout the Caribbean, while touring with Collie Budz, Mr Vegas and cross-over reggae group "Slightly Stoopid" on their Legalize It 2010 tour. The band members are excited to be supporting the vigil, and are looking forward as always to perform for their New York area fans.

Parents are encouraged to bring out their kids, as only a $1.00 contribution per candle will be collected at the vigil. All contributions received will go toward the Jamaica Mustard Seed Dare to Care Program. Dare to Care is the first and only home of its kind in Jamaica that provides care, specifically for children living with HIV/AIDS. The doors of Dare to Care opened to seven children on September 14, 2000 and now cares for over 31 children ranging from ages 5 to 17 years.


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