On Friday June 5TH, The I AM My Sister's Keeper Movement stopped by the Chicago Cultural Center to celebrate I AM My Sister's Keeper's very own, Shurand Adams, who received a Long Term Survivor's Award --- as well as to participate in Chicago's first officially proclaimed Long Term Survivors Day.
In 2004, The Long Term Survivors’ Awards, conceptualized by Bruce Edwards, became the signature 4th quarter event of the Chicago HIV/AIDS Caucus --- EASE --- to acknowledge individuals that were living with HIV.
The first event presented 13 trophies representing 3 categories, fashioned after the Olympic Awards: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Each category was equated with a certain number of years that an individual was living with HIV. Gold: 20+ yrs., Silver: 10+ yrs.,Bronze 7+yrs. And, recently, a fourth category, Platinum for 30 yrs.
Since It's Inception, The long Term Survivors’ Awards goals were to:
• To acknowledge individuals living with HIV/AIDS for their constant struggles to survive the harsh realities they face daily, the physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and financial challenges imposed upon them by this epidemic.
• To allow People Living with HIV/AIDS to “Smell their Roses,” while they can.
• To promote Public advocacy among people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
• To address the issues of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, and .
• To encourage PLWHA to become empowered enough to join the fight, and empower themselves and their community.
What make's this years awards especially nice, is not just the fact that Shurand received an award and in doing so helped move The I AM My Sister's Keeper Movement forward. Not just the fact our our illustrious Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed June 5th as National Long Term Survivors Day, creating a bigger platform to continue to bring awareness, honor and focus on those individuals that continue to survive the many challenges of being infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
What makes this years awards especially great is that the acknowledgment of I AM My Sister's Keeper members like Shurand this year, and Sherman in years past, coupled with the acknowledgment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel of the day and it's significance --- all point to the fact that The I AM My Sister's Keeper Movement and it's goal of helping us all move towards The Dream of an AIDS Free Generation, is not that far off, and that there are many who are committed to doing the work, and others who are joining the fight daily --- all sharing that same dream.
Congrats to this years honorees, I pray that “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” And... that he gives you the strength that you need to continue to do the great work that you are doing.
Please CLICK HERE to see all of the images from this event