Honoring those who fight the tough fight

first_imgI’m not sure when awards season begins and ends anymore, with some kind of kudofest happening just about every week! But one event that stands out is the Ribbon of Hope Celebration that was presented Saturday night in North Hollywood by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The 11th annual edition of the show – which honors personal and professional commitment that continues to keep HIV/AIDS awareness in the forefront – drew some really cool celebrities, including Judith Light of “Ugly Betty,” Jack Coleman of “Heroes,” Gina Ravera of “ER,” Andrea Bowen of “Desperate Housewives,” as well as funnyman Bruce Vilanch, Jasmine Guy, Dee Wallace, Thea Gill, Julie Newmar, Wilson Cruz and “Star Trek” legend Nichelle Nichols, among others. It was no coincidence that the ceremony was held on World AIDS Day. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsMany of those in attendance spoke to me about the importance of talking about this horrible disease. And while treatments are certainly getting better in the U.S. and elsewhere, there’s still no cure, and new strains are developing in Africa and other places. “It gets off the front page for a while and people forget about it,” Jack Coleman said. “People think it’s a disease that’s been conquered, and that’s very far from the truth. “In this country alone, there’s 300,000 undiagnosed cases so it’s scary and it’s still out there and people really do have to be aware of it.” Judith Light, who was honored at the event last year for her decades of work for HIV/AIDS, presented the pioneering PBS series “In the Life” with a special achievement award. The Emmy-winning actress was one of the first celebrities, way back in the early ’80s, to step up and help raise money and awareness. She’s never stepped down. “I’ve been part of the really dark days,” Judith said. “How it feels now is it feels mildly better, but it’s not enough. I know that people are working really hard to make it be different, and that’s what we have to keep doing, and that’s why this is an important program for people to see so we do see that it’s out there and it’s not over.” The here! Networks, which will televise the ceremony in North America and throughout Europe sometime next year, was honored Saturday for its program spotlighting AIDS organizations around the country. “It’s an opportunity for everyone to realize what the face of AIDS is in 2008,” said here! founder and CEO Paul Colichman, who produced “Gods & Monsters” among other films. “The face has changed but it is probably more important than ever that people realize all of us have to play our part, whether it’s a dollar that you give, or an hour of time that you give, all of us together, each doing our small part, creates a mighty army of warriors.” Despite the serious nature of the topic, the event had its lighter moments, many of them provided by Bruce Vilanch, who can ad-lib better than just about anyone in town and is the first to poke fun at his less-than-svelt physique. “Well, I used to be a writer,” he told the audience during the show. “Now I’m a striking writer … and a stripper.” For more celebrity news, go to and local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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