I remember May 1992, I was in college. I assisted a certain Sr. Soledad Perpinan, RGS organize an AIDS candle lighting memorial service. I was a summer volunteer English teacher at the halfway house run by the Religious of the Good Shepherd nuns and found myself unwittingly in the logistics committee of this very new (to me) venture.
I had no real grasp of what AIDS was, sure I had an idea but my thoughts were still riddled with prejudice, hesitant compassion, a lot of narrow-minded judgment and more questions. All I had going for me was an article published in some magazine that I read over and over.
Sarah Jane Salazar, if I remember correctly, was the only one open about her diagnosis back then, I remember she lit the first candle.
I was assigned to pick up & drop off musician Joey Ayala from somewhere to the Quezon Memorial Circle where the event was held. Konti lang tao nun.
Now, 18 years and many full circles later I am at the verge of organizing another AIDS Awareness gig.
Bigger this time & in partnership with the Department of Health. I think the fact that this event is being hoisted with the same urgency as in 1992 is tragic. Who was not listening to the plea of prevention?
Oh wait, where are the nuns? Would any of you know where I can get a hold of Sr. Sol? I want to thank her for making me feel that the Catholic Church or at least those of that faith had a great concern for those afflicted with this preventable disease. Would be nice to see her again and ask her more questions because it doesn’t seem to feel the same now. Not so.