November 26, 1997
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES LIGHTS TO BE DIMMED
AT STATE BUILDINGS AS PART OF WORLD AIDS DAY DEC. 1
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. -- Gov. Jim Edgar today announced the Capitol dome lights and lights at state government buildings in Chicago will be dimmed for 15 minutes on Dec. 1 as part of the nation's 10th annual observance of World AIDS Day. The dimming of lights symbolizes the state's ongoing commitment to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and recognizes those living with HIV/AIDS as well as those who have died from AIDS.
"This day each year gives all of us an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and those who are fighting this disease," the Governor said. "The last year alone has brought tremendous strides in the treatment and awareness of this tragic disease. Yet, in recent years, the epidemic's demographics have begun to shift to include more minorities, women and children. It is critical that we maintain our commitment to preventing this devastating illness."
Dome lighting and holiday lights at the Capitol will be turned off at 6:45 p.m., Monday, as will lights at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago, and the State of Illinois Building, 160 N. LaSalle St., Chicago. Lights will be dimmed at public and private buildings throughout the nation, including the White House.
Edgar also proclaimed Dec. 1 as AIDS Awareness Day in Illinois and announced that the Illinois Department of Public Health will honor an individual and one organization with the state's fourth annual World AIDS Day Award for exceptional merit. Dr. John R. Lumpkin, Director of Public Health, will present the awards Monday during a noon ceremony in the Capitol rotunda.
Illinois award winners were selected for best exemplifying the theme of this year's World AIDS Day -- "Give Children Hope in a World With AIDS."
Yolanda Olaya-Olszewski, a counselor with the Second Family Program at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Oak Park, will receive the individual award. The award highlights her work linking children of HIV-infected mothers with families in the community who can provide the children with respite care, foster care and, in the event of the mother's total incapacity or death, adoption. She also coordinates a weekend drop-in center for adolescents involved in Howard Brown Health Center's STOP AIDS program.
The organizational award will be presented to Chase House of Chicago for its six years of serving poor children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. This respite program provides children opportunities for more normal life experiences through early childhood education, compassion and support for the whole family. By eliminating isolation and service deprivation, Chase House helps minimize the impact of this disease on children and their families.
Two individuals will receive honorable mention awards: Elizabeth Monk, director of the AIDS Project of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, who has guided expansion of DCFS services for HIV-infected children, youth and families; and Desiree Mills, a volunteer and secretary of the board for the Southern Illinois Regional Effort for AIDS, a not-for-profit, volunteer organization in Carbondale serving persons infected and at risk for HIV in 16 southern Illinois counties.
The two organizations to receive honorable mention awards are Children's Place, Chicago, which provides residential and treatment services for HIV-infected and affected children and family support services; and the Families' and Children's AIDS Network Downstate Caucus, Springfield, which held a three-day camp for HIV-infected and affected children and their parents.
Since 1981, 20,071 cases of AIDS have been reported in Illinois, including 230 children under 13 years of age. Of those diagnosed with AIDS, 12,839, or 64 percent, have died. Illinois has the sixth highest total of AIDS cases in the nation.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments