For use while lighting a candle in a virtual gathering space:
As spirits gather in this virtual space,
in the midst of another virus that brings up old pain, reveals old prejudices, and calls us again to take care of each other,
we light this one candle as a symbol of the many.
We bear witness to the thousands upon thousands of candles that have been lit over the years
in prayer, remembrance, desperate hope, and deep grief.
We remember the lives behind the candles.
The millions of beloveds no longer with us.
The companions and caretakers.
The forgotten and condemned.
We grieve the serious lack of global solidarity in attention, shared resources, and policy support necessary for bringing AIDS to an end worldwide.
We honor the work of activists who have advocated for themselves, friends, lovers, family members, and entire communities against the sins of pharmaceutical companies, churches that discriminate, racist structures of health care, colonizing forces, and stigmas of any kind that have enabled mass death.
We celebrate the endurance of queer and trans and BIPOC communities, sex workers, and people who use drugs that have bore the burden of this virus and its associated neglect, stigma, and loss.
Within this flame, may we recognize anew our own sacred power, granted by the Divine and practiced through our flesh, as we recommit to building a world free from anti-Blackness, anti-queer and anti-trans forces, poverty, ableism, and lack of access to health care.
May we take our places in the lineages of sacred resistance to which we belong
until we are all free to thrive without fear, suffering, or in isolation,
until all have access to harm reduction supplies,
networks of care,
and the medical treatment that enables life to endure,
and until all can rest peacefully, knowing their labors for liberation were not in vain, but have carried us one step closer to justice, solidarity, and a cure.