Gathered in a circle by Boulder Creek on a windy summer night, about 40 volunteers, supporters and staff members of the Boulder County AIDS Project remembered the 157 local men and women who have died from AIDS.
The Boulder County AIDS Project and the Interfaith AIDS Coalition of Boulder County sponsored Sunday's local walk and memorial, which were part of the 30-year-old International AIDS Candlelight Memorial held around the world.
"We're here to remember, honor and celebrate the lives that were lost," said David Ensign, Boulder County AIDS Project's board president.
The walk through downtown Boulder included a stop at the Boulder County Courthouse and ended at the AIDS Memorial Garden along Boulder Creek. Students in Boulder County's Sexual Health AIDS Awareness Peer Education program took turns at each stop reading the names of those who died.
"It's such an important cause and it impacts so many people," said Kennedy Berry, a peer educator who's graduating from New Vista High School. "It's important for people to be reminded."
Boulder's Morgan Taylor said he thought he was HIV positive, but got tested on Friday and learned that he's not. When he thought he was HIV positive, he said, he was surprised by the discrimination he experienced.
"There's still stigma," he said. "It's so wrong."
Joining the walk was law clerk Stephen Spano, who is making a cross-country bike ride from San Francisco to New York to raise money and awareness for San Francisco's AIDS Legal Referral Panel.
"It's something I believe in," he said.
At the memorial by Boulder Creek, Rev. Pat Bruns, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church, spoke about the importance of supporting those living with HIV and AIDS.
"We are going to work together to end the marginalization of those with HIV," he said.
Barbara Middleton, a First United Methodist Church member and a social worker, said she's lost friends to the disease.
"There are too many names," she said.
Lafayette's Vyckee Keyes, a Boulder County AIDS Project volunteer, brought her husband and middle school daughter to the event. She said her adult son is gay, and she's also lost friends to the disease. The first, she said, was a 19-year-old who died in 1990.
Her focus is on prevention and education.
"A lot of people don't realize that HIV and AIDS are still a really big deal," she said. ___
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