For Immediate Release – 13.11.18 – A vigil in honour of artist Jacob Alexander and launch of the ALXNDR ARMY

For Immediate Release – 13.11.18 – A vigil in honour of artist Jacob Alexander and launch of the ALXNDR ARMY

On Saturday, October 20th, 2018, Jacob Alexander – one of London’s most pioneering and respected young HIV+ artists and advocates tragically claimed their own life.

Jacob created the Positive Project in attempt to combat the stigma so many still attach to the virus and was featured on TED Talks(1), ID (2) and across art institutions in London. His mother Jacqueline has set up the crowdfunder to continue Jacob’s great work and to donate for further HIV research. 

At 6.30pm on Wednesday, 14th November 2018 at Haggerston Bridge and then onto East London’s leading LGBTQIA+ bar – ‘The Glory’, in personal honor of Jacob Alexander, his friends and supporters are hosting ‘the ALEXANDR ARMY’ a vigil in fond remembrance of not only Jacob’s talents, achievements and activism but his vibrant, kind and witty personality and to celebrate Jacob’s legacy as the incredible HIV activist and artist that he was. All profits go to the ongoing development of Jacob’s charity – the ‘The Positive Project’ and to his favourite charity ‘St Stephens HIV & Aids research’.  The vigil will be followed by a celebration of Jacob’s life at the World AIDS Day ‘HIV Blind Date’ event in East London (3).

“Bringing together our community in light of this pressing news spins a positive on a tragedy that has affected so many. We want to show people there are viable options and to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” Tommy Hibbitts aka. Bimini-Bon Boulash pole dancer / HIV+ activist and yoga teacher

The vigil will take place at 6.30 pm on Wednesday, 14th November 2018 at Haggerston Bridge before naturally progressing on to The Glory for a joyous celebration of Jacob’s excellent work, talks from suicide prevention/HIV+ charities and a heart circle (3). There will be an opportunity to donate some money as we will be raising money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) (4) and for St. Stephens Centre in West London (5), a sexual health clinic Jacob was treated at. We respectfully invite as many of our community as possible for an evening of celebration and invite you to become a part of the ALEXANDR ARMY and help acknowledge Jacob’s incredible legacy.

“In London LGBTQIA+ depression/mental health issues are rapidly on the rise whilst LGBTQIA+ mental health services are being cut by the Government . In the UK men remain three times as likely to take their own lives than women. There is a huge need for comprehensive mental health care support and for supportive spaces for LGBTQIA+ people to speak and connect. The ALEXANDR ARMY vigil is taking place to try and make sure this doesn’t happen again.” dan glass, Aids Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) London activist

Jacob himself wrote in his interview with I.D. when asked ‘People who have friends or family with HIV, what’s the best thing they can do to support them?’ responded – “Make sure they never feel alone, because that’s the worst thing. I get a bit emotional talking about it now because you do feel quite alone sometimes and you do feel like you’re different. So be there for them and make sure they get on medication, because it’s the best thing for them. None of this ‘let your body fight it by itself’ rubbish. The minute they are diagnosed, don’t let anybody tell them that that they can’t let people know. They should be able to tell everybody the minute you get it and everybody should accept it.” Jacob Alexander, June 18th 2016, aged 22

Testimonials in honour of Jacob Alexander 

“We are so proud to have had an activist such as Jacob as part of the UAL community, to raise awareness of the importance of AIDS activism as a continuous fight for justice for the LGBTQ community. This tragedy reminds us that we need to hold our community close and be supportive of each other, and fight for a better future were mental health support is more accessible, better funded and de-stigmatised.” Katayoun Jalili, Welfare Officer at Arts SU

“People living with HIV are terribly impacted by mental health problems, according to Positive Voices a research by PHE:  40% of people with HIV have received a mental health diagnosis, and loneliness and isolation have been identified as critical issues affecting quality of life. The cuts which have caused the closure of so many  HIV social support services, mean that many people are facing mental health crisis alone with no hope of accessing life saving support. “ Silvia Petretti, Interim CEO,  Positively UK

“We all stumble in life and often need support at times but we often don’t feel ‘qualified’ to offer that support back to those around us. So we don’t engage with our own community – because we feel guilty for our moments of weakness – we feel like ‘takers’. Impulse London believes in the desire and potential of every queer person to contribute to others through active social engagement. That’s why we don’t strive for events to just attend but instead experiences for you to help build. We believe that the confidence and pride to be found in ‘giving’ to those around us can free us from the stigma associated in ‘taking’ a helping hand when we need it – and ‘taking’ support could save your life.” Damien Killeen, IMPULSE London

Contacts

Tommy Hibbitts – 0044 (0) 7842642560 / Tommytitbits@gmail.com

dan glass – 0044 (0) 7717811747 / actuplondonfighttilltheend@gmail.com / https://actuplondon.wordpress.com/

Notes to Editors

When – November 14th 2018 – 6.30pm – midnight

Where – Haggerston Bridge then onto The Glory, 281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS London, United Kingdom

  1. The Positive Project | Jacob Alexander | TEDxUAL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOVRVcOk_H4

  2. meet the fashion student changing the way we look at hiv https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/vbewj8/meet-the-fashion-student-changing-the-way-we-look-at-hiv

  3. The vigil is wholeheartedly supported by ‘AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power – ACT UP – London’* who are organising HIV Blind Date’ for World AIDS Day in honour of Jacob* ‘HIV BLIND DATE‘ is a theatre dating- show for people living and loving with HIV / HEP to share the realities of life, love and struggle. 2.12.18 7 – 12pm at Redon, Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9HA Bethnal Green, London, UK. Tickets at https://www.outsavvy.com/event/2062/hiv-blind-date-show-and-world-aids-day-30th-birthday-party-tickets

  4. Heart Circles* foster open, honest and loving communication with one another; to build resilient community together through healing, trust and unconditional love.  See more https://www.albionfaeries.org.uk/heart-circles/

  5. CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) https://www.thecalmzone.net/

  6. St Stephen’s AIDS Trust – http://www.ssat.org.uk/

  7. ‘meet the fashion student changing the way we look at hiv’ – https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/vbewj8/meet-the-fashion-student-changing-the-way-we-look-at-hiv

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