Locals keep the promise | SummitDaily.com

Locals keep the promise

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

FRISCO – “I promise.”Twenty-three community members said those two powerful words aloud Thursday night at a candlelight vigil for World AIDS Day at the Frisco Historic Park. Frank Accosta, who began the local vigil four years ago, encouraged people to promise to put an end to AIDS through education, donations, political activism, open discussion and anything else that could help prevent the disease.

“Anything you do makes a difference,” Accosta said.Kristy Johnson, past president of the Summit School District, is breaking the silence. She experienced the denial of AIDS firsthand when her uncle died of the disease. Johnson was in middle school, and her family said he died of bone marrow cancer. It wasn’t until she reached high school that she realized her uncle really died of AIDS. To this day, her grandmother – his mother – still maintains he died of cancer. So she promised to work against the culture of silence.

In 1983, when the pandemic of AIDS started, teachers at Summit High School didn’t talk about the virus. Now they do, and health teacher Pat Foote is proud of her students’ abilities to think critically about safe sex.That’s especially important now because the number of HIV-infected residents is growing in Summit County, Accosta said.

Pastor Tracy Hausman from Father Dyer United Methodist Church in Breckenridge reminded the group that we live in a time where people quickly make and break promises. She encouraged community members to turn to each other for support when they feel weak.”Don’t turn your back on AIDS,” Accosta said at the end of the vigil. “Keep the promise. Get involved locally and globally. Visit worldaidscampaign.org for more information.”