A Tremendous Success the Annual Cielo Gala Honoring Broadway’s Hamilton Star Javier Muñoz, Macy’s and Dr. Mary T. Bassett !
New York, May 8, 2017 —With an impressive roster of celebrities and people from all walks of life showing their unconditional support to the fight against HIV and AIDS, the Latino Commission on AIDS celebrated its 22nd annual Cielo gala on Friday, April 28th at Cipriani Wall Street, honoring Javier Muñoz, star of Broadway’s hit show Hamilton and HIV/AIDS activist with the Ilka Award.
“We are very privileged to have Javier’s support in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” stated Guillermo Chacon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS and founder of the Hispanic Health Network during the event. “We recognize his bravery and boldness in being an HIV/AIDS and health advocate, and we welcome him to the Commission’s family.”
Under the theme Designing a World Without AIDS, the Cielo gala raised funds in support of the Latino Commission on AIDS to create and promote HIV and AIDS service programs and initiatives aimed at increased awareness, prevention, and treatment education for Latinos. This year, the gala was focused on support for the OASIS: Latino LGBTS Wellness Center, a new initiative of the Commission which over the past year has worked to build a base of support for the Latino LGBT community in New York City.
During the Cielo benefit gala, the Latino Commission on AIDS also paid tribute and recognized Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene with the Fuerza Award, as well as Macy’s, with the Business Leadership Award, for its support of HIV and AIDS education and awareness initiatives.
Among the most touching and heart-rendering part of the program was Munoz’s description of being HIV positive and his singularly courageous fight against cancer. He talked about growing up in a Puerto Rican family in east New York and how it wasn’t easy coming out as a gay man. He narrated how it took a while for him to get the courage to tell his family about his sexual orientation.
“I am proud of being here tonight to support the Latino Commission on AIDS in its mission, and raise funds for its OASIS Center. They are providing a safe place for people to get tested, get services, and learn how to best deal with their personal health situations,” said Muñoz.
Actor J.W Cortes, best known for his role as Detective Carlos Alvarez in “GOTHAM” presented the award to Macy’s, while Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler inducted Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere as the newest Madrina of the Latino Commission on AIDS, and Mexican Designer and HIV/AIDS activist Ricardo Seco, presented his provocative fashion line Juntos/Together during the evening’s festivities.
Throughout the program, the audience was treated to moving video testimonials from volunteers and employees of the OASIS: Latino LGBTS Wellness Center, narrating how OASIS has encourage them to change their life and the lives of many young LGBTS Latinos and Latinas.
The Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra led by Oscar Hernandez rounded the night with live entertainment and DJ Charley Casanova played music tracks into the night for the lively audience that danced the night away.
About the Latino Commission on AIDS
The Latino Commission on AIDS (Commission) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 dedicated to meet the health challenges and addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS, viral Hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the Latino community. The Commission is the leading organization coordinating National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day (May 15), National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (October 15), Latinos in the Deep South, and other prevention, research, capacity building, and advocacy programs across the United States and its territories. The Latino Commission is also the founder of the Hispanic Health Network, dedicated to eliminate health disparities in Latino communities.