Solemn Vigil Marks World AIDS Day's Close

Candles at the NYC AIDS Memorial. | DONNA ACETO

PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO | As the sun went down on December 1, hundreds gathered at the NYC AIDS Memorial in the West Village to mark the 26th annual Out of the Darkness World AIDS Day candlelight vigil and heard from speakers involved in the battle against HIV. The Memorial was dedicated just one year ago as the city’s first significant marker of an epidemic that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, most of them gay and bisexual men.

Kelsey Louie, CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis. | DONNA ACETO

Following the vigil, participants marched to St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street, where they heard from additional speakers.

Gays Against Guns and marriage equality activist Cathy Marino-Thomas, David Contreras Turley, an aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and former State Senator Tom Duane. | DONNA ACETO

Matthew McMorrow, an aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Officer Dineen Lopez, a member of the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) who sang the National Anthem, and Bruce Pachter. | DONNA ACETO

Jamie Bauer and Amanda Lugg, members of Rise and Resist. | DONNA ACETO

The “Human Beings” of Gays Against Guns, who symbolize those people lost in the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando and other gun violence tragedies. | DONNA ACETO

Members of GOAL. | DONNA ACETO

Jeffrey Griglak and Lee Raines. | DONNA ACETO

GOAL members hoisted the American Flag, the New York City Flag, the NYPD Flag, the Rainbow Flag, , and the Transgender Flag. | DONNA ACETO

Rebekah Bruesehof, a trans youth from New Jersey. | DONNA ACETO

Brent Nicholson Earle, founder of the American Run for the End of AIDS. | DONNA ACETO

Gays Against Guns and Rise and Resist member Jay Walker. | DONNA ACETO