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Benefit to Fight AIDS at Charter Tech - Ocean City Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

Benefit to Fight AIDS at Charter Tech

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Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 12:00 am

Some students wait for their five-year reunion to unite with fellow alumni, but three years after his graduation from Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts, alumnus German Cuadrado found a way to unite and educate alumni with his first “Fight Against AIDS” concert to benefit the South Jersey AIDS Alliance on Saturday, Nov. 27.

Cuadrado, whose father passed away from HIV in 2002 at age 38, was motivated to coordinate the event while working as an intern for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance, a local organization that seeks to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS with preventative programs and support groups.

“He never told us anything about it,” said Cuadrado, referring to his father’s diagnosis. “As a family we were never able to help him get medication.... I was affected by that.”

Currently a public relations intern with the Alliance and a senior at Rowan University, Cuadrado’s exposure to the Alliance’s programs and the experience of losing his father at age 12 motivated him to educate the public and encourage open discussions between children and parents. Proceeds from the show will benefit the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.

While statistically the number of people living with AIDS has slowed in the region, New Jersey ranked among the top ten states with the highest number of AIDS diagnoses in 2008 and was the fifth of the top ten states for cumulative AIDS diagnoses, according to a report from the Center for Disease control.

“I feel like it’s something our community, especially young adults and parents, need to talk about, because people our age, 18 to 29, make up the highest statistics,” said Cuadrado. “I think people know about it, but they’re afraid to act on it.... I want to encourage everyone to go out and get tested.”

Cuadrado has rallied performing artist and alumni Natasha Postal and Kristin Melendez for the performance, Atlantic City rapper Illogik, R&B artist 120 World and rapper Brandon B-EZ Holland, who recently performed a song with the group Salt-n-Pepa.

Holland’s lyrics deal with inspirational issues, said Cuardrado, including religion, racism, political issues and reflections on growing up in nearby Pleasantville.

Other performances will include contemporary and country music artists, poetry readings and a variety of original music and cover songs performances. The show will include ten alumni performances, which Cuadrado hoped would bring further publicity to the high school’s performances and encourage audience members to support the Alliance’s programs and educate themselves on the disease’s impact.

Cuadrado said he hopes people are inspired

“by looking at us and seeing us do what we love to do and for a good cause,” said Cuadrado.

The “Fight Against AIDS” benefit will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27 at Charter Tech High School. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students with ID. For more information, contact Charter Tech at (609) 926-7694.

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