AIDS Healthcare Foundation:
Media Availability – Judging of AHF 2013 Tournament of Roses float
MONDAY, December 31st 8:00 am – 9:30 am PST
16016 Avenida Padilla #B, Irwindale, CA 91702 –
(Please RSVP for Monday by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org )
|Who:||AHF clients from around the world (Uganda, Russia, India, Mexico, USA)|
|B-ROLL:||International AHF clients dressed in traditional cultural outfits of their countries standing on the AHF 2013 Tournament of Roses entry, ‘The Global Face of AIDS’|
All cameras have to be OFF and media out of the venue by the 9:30am judging
Ged Kenslea, +1.323.308.1833 or mobile email@example.com
Kyveli Diener, +1.323.308.1821, ext. 1805 or mobile 310.779.4796 firstname.lastname@example.org
As Rose Committee judges prepare to take stock of the float entries for this year’s Tournament of Roses parade, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will submit its ‘The Global Face of AIDS,’ float for judging consideration to the panel Monday morning, December 31st. AHF’s float highlights the Foundation’s work in 28 countries worldwide and is believed to be the only parade float entry this year that exclusively feature roses as its floral element.
The organization won the ‘Queen’s Award’ prize last year recognizing the best use of roses for their “Our Champion” float, which honored the late AIDS advocate and Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor for her tireless advocacy and work in the fight against AIDS. Not only was it AHF’s inaugural entry in the historic New Year’s Day parade, but it was also the first float in the Tournament’s history that focused on the topic of HIV/AIDS.
Keeping in line with the 124th annual parade’s theme of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!,” AHF’s float for this year highlights the testing, treatment, and advocacy the organization provides in 28 countries worldwide by featuring international representatives standing in front of tall floral cutouts of continents along with a massive Red Ribbon – the international symbol for HIV/AIDS awareness – and a towering globe encircled with flags of the world.
Though various plant materials like seeds will be present to cover the base of the float, the only flower type present on the AHF float will be roses: to be precise, over 150,000 roses, many of which will be AHF “Memory Flowers,” – roses whose water vials will be hand-inscribed with the name of an honored loved one through AHF’s innovative text-to-donate effort the organization introduced last year. Members of the public can dedicate a rose on the float to someone they love by texting “FLOWER” and the honored person’s name to 20222. In addition to designating a “Memory Flower,” that text will also make an automatic $10 donation to AHF.
Personalizing AHF’s global activities will be several people of all ages riding on the float who flew to Los Angeles from around the world. All of the riders – who will be dressed in traditional costumes from their homelands during the parade – are not only living with HIV, but are also connected to AHF either through partnerships in activism or by receiving care directly from an AHF-supported clinic in their home countries.
Among the riders are two Ugandan representatives: Grace Mugisha Akamumuz, 47, and Mariam Nazziwa, 9. Grace, who has been living with HIV for more than a decade, became one of AHF’s first Ugandan clients when she began receiving care through the organization in 2001. Today, she is an administrator in one of the biggest AHF clinics in Masaka and has been trained by the Foundation as an HIV medic. Mariam, who was exposed to HIV at birth, has been an AHF client since the age of 3. She warmed hearts in the 2009 AHF documentary “If Not Now…” when she told how she knew it was time to take her antiretroviral medication (ARVs) by the song of a particular bird that sang in the mornings and evenings.
Representing Mexico is 36-year-old Marcos Ledesma, who has been living with HIV since 2007 but, thanks to treatment he is receiving from an AHF-supported clinic in his hometown of Mexico City, his viral load is currently undetectable and he lives a productive life. He is a drug treatment and HIV counselor with Condomovil, a mobilized condom distribution and HIV-testing organization that is funded by AHF and has been operating throughout Mexico for over 20 years.
Another international activist riding on the float is Francis Xavier De Melo, 48, of India. HIV-positive since that age of 29, Francis has been receiving care from AHF since 2000 and is currently an Assistant Prevention Programs Coordinator in New Delhi for India Cares, which is AHF’s local country branch there. He also took a stand against the stigmatization faced by both openly gay men and openly HIV-positive people in India by founding the Love Life Society in 2005 to fight discrimination through advocacy and sensitization of the general population, including the police and health departments. Membership steadily grew from three people to more than 900, and through coordination with AHF, the rallies, gay parades, and workshops LLS hosted in Delhi were replicated in the other states throughout India.
Flying in from the Eastern European exclave of Kaliningrad is Russian activist Svetlana Prosvirina, 48, who has been living with HIV for over a decade and is a leader in the fight to ensure treatment for Russians living with the virus. She is the head of “Status Plus,” a Kaliningrad regional non-government organization for people living with HIV, and is a member of the “Patients in Control” movement that unites Russians living with HIV, tuberculosis, and other serious diseases. Additionally, during recent shortages of antiretroviral medication (ARVs) in her country, Svetlana took part in street demonstrations outside the Russian Ministry of Health to send the message to officials that the drug shortage was a death sentence for many living with HIV in the country. These efforts, as well as her support of treatment for HIV-positive people who are also living with tuberculosis or are in prison, earned her a Red Ribbon Award, with which she was presented in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2012.
Representing the United States is a young woman who has been an AIDS activist since childhood, and who was awarded the Third Annual AHF World AIDS Day Award on December 1, 2012 in a poignant ceremony during KIIS-FM’s annual star-studded Jingle Ball concert at LA Live. Las Vegas native Hydeia Broadbent, 28, was born with HIV and made her first stand in the name of young people living with HIV at just six years old, when she appeared on a Nickelodeon television special with Magic Johnson and tearfully expressed that all she wanted was to be treated normally. Since then, she has continued drawing light to the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS and HIV stigma by speaking at universities across the country.
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 183,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.