Light For Rights opening ceremony, December 6, 2010. 2PM RVM Lobby House of Representatives
It was definitely an experience, I have never imagined that I would one day stand in front of our country’s legislators, that was just really far out! And I have to be honest, I was nearly shaking but tried to hide it, I knew I had to sound confident. My speech, although simple, resonated the hopes of the headshot clinic ACT participants, and I can only hope that it would make a change, big or small. This is for all of us, for my brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS, and for those whom we’ve lost.
One day, someone very curious asked me: how can portraits be an effective medium to spread awareness? And I said: with photographs and the use of the Internet, we can reach out to the world in one click of a finger. I would like to explain very briefly, on November 30, 15 minutes before midnight, everyone was anticipating the launch of these headshots online, I had promised that at 12mn, all 235 photos would be made viewable to public. At that time, together with my team, we were trying to beat our deadline by uploading all the photographs on our website and on Facebook. It felt like New Year’s Eve; I can almost hear them do the countdown…
5 minutes before 12 midnight, I was doing my own countdown as we were uploading the last 3 photographs… and at the strike of 12mn, the last photograph was uploaded…and I knew that it was the right moment, I took a deep breath and I clicked the publish button… visually, I had imagined a domino effect; with one click we had created a wave of photographs and a wave of awareness and sparks of commitment…
This year’s Project Headshot Clinic’s commitment on HIV/AIDS awareness is to educate people and to promote voluntary HIV Screening in a different approach. We used words that were engaging; we wanted to engage people to ACT. At this point, I would like to thank the UNAIDS for supporting our project for the past 3 years. Indeed, the best way to learn is by involving ourselves in advocacies such as this.
I would also like to thank Jethro Patalinghug, a good friend of mine, for spearheading the “Take The Test,” a campaign to promote HIV Screening in a more mainstream concept, such as using the catch phrase “Are you sexy enough?” with visually appealing images in his campaign in Puerto Gallera. This campaign attracted a lot of people, resulting in a good turnout of people getting themselves tested. Many thanks also to ASP and DOH for providing counseling and VCT.
In realization, I believe that we can save humanity from HIV/AIDS through photographs. I believe that these photographs and their stories can serve as a “light” for those who are still in the dark. I believe that if we all come together and start the prevention, revolution within ourselves, within our families, within our communities, and online, then I believe that we can reach our goal in 2015. (Millennium Development Goal of zero new infection from HIV/AIDS)
This is the best time for us to make our commitments.
This is my commitment; I will not stop taking photographs for HIV/AIDS until we reach our goal.
photo by: Erving Go