Dozens of people met at Glenn Archer Elementary School on White Street to light candles to remember those loved ones and friends they have lost to AIDS. Including, one mother from Richmond, Virginia whose son, a fine dining waiter from New York City, vacationed in Key West with his friends. Karen Hicks says Key West is her place to remember her son, Mark Mercer. In 1997 he was diagnosed by his father, a doctor in Dallas, he was carrying the virus. Three weeks later, at the age of 33, he passed away.
“It was hard,” Hicks tells the Weekly Newspapers. “It was a shock, but it wasn’t a big surprise. This march and vigil is why I’m here. His name always comes as we walk down the street. Then we sit at the AIDS Memorial.”
This is Hicks tenth year attending the event. She was accompanied by her friends and husband.
Karen Hicks (left) has been attending the AIDS vigil for the past ten years. She is pictured with her support group from Richmond, Virginia, Sandra Sturgill (center) and Chris O’Neil (right). “I had him when I was 17-years old,” Karen mentions, “so we just kind of grew up together. We were very close.”
Julian Ward (right) Treasurer of Friends of the AIDS Memorial with Pete Arnow (left). Julian shared his thoughts, “We need to remember the people that we loved and not forget the world impact HIV has. Names are added to the memorial every year.”
Dozens of mourners from Key West and around the country took part in the Candlelight March to the AIDS Memorial. The Memorial at the White Street Pier is the only one of its kind in the world.
King & Queen
Fantasy Fest King and Queen, Vicki Gordon and King Ralph Garcia share an intimate moment at the AIDS Memorial as they reflect on those who perished from the auto-immunity disorder.