Canadian Musicians Perform in HIV/AIDS Education Program: slated to reach 20,000 Canadian youth

Ottawa, Canada – Canadian non-profit organization The 411
Initiative For Change (411), working with The Canadian Coalition
on HIV/AIDS And Youth In Africa (CARE Canada, Foster Parents Plan, Save
the Children Canada and World Vision Canada) has developed a nationwide
youth HIV/AIDS education program ‘The Corner’ which fuses contemporary
music with life-saving HIV/AIDS information targeting young people. Canadian
musicians taking part in this program have created HIV/AIDS-themed music for
this new production showcasing their passion and commitment to motivate and
engage young Canadians in the international fight against HIV/AIDS. This highly
effective and candid program will reach 20,000 youth in urban, rural and
remote regions across Canada as part of a national concert tour visiting high
schools and community centers in May 2006.

The Corner’ is educational musical theatre program which bridges arts,
culture, and social development into a dynamic ‘edutainment’ performance and
youth training sessions. This program works to increase awareness and knowledge
on how HIV/AIDS affects young people around the world, and teaches that HIV/AIDS
is a global common issue faced by many. The program connects young Canadians to
volunteering initiatives in their communities and abroad to curb the spread of
HIV/AIDS and provides schools with meaningful opportunities for youth to
continue learning about this critical issue. This program demonstrates that
young Canadians are drivers of change and make a difference in the world.

The Corner’ features soul songstress Melanie Durrant, spoken word
poet Dwayne Morgan, rapper Rochester aka Juice and Juno Award
nominated rapper Eternia, whose performances discuss the effects of
HIV/AIDS on women and children, various communities around the world, and
promotes the efforts of young people working to combat the spread of the
crippling disease. The production is hosted by former University of
Massachusetts hip-hop culture professor Will Strickland. Following the
performance, musicians partake in an interactive discussion session with
students challenging them to take an active role in their collective
futures, while encouraging them to develop their own individual forms of
self-expression through art or advocacy.

“Internationally young people are hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS
crisis – with over 6,000 new infections among young people each day worldwide.
Many Canadians are surprised to learn that in Canada, 12 people are infected
with HIV every day,”
explains 411 Executive Director Tamara Dawit. “411
is grateful for the support of the MAC AIDS Fund and the Ontario Arts
Council – enabling us to launch this timely program to support the
involvement of Canadian youth in the global fight against HIV/AIDS – an issue of
importance to Canadians as members of the global community. This program also
serves as a ? reminder that HIV infection rates among youth in Canada are

Canadian youth are vulnerable to HIV infection as a result of many factors,
including risky sexual behavior, substance use (including injection drug use),
and misconceptions that HIV is not a threat to them. This program addresses some
of the data provided in a 2002 national survey which released these troubling
results: Canadian students are less worried about contracting HIV/AIDS than
the sample of students surveyed in 1989; have the misconception that there is a
vaccine available to prevent HIV/AIDS, and many think there is a cure for

The Corner’ responds to the requests of 96% of Canadian youth who, when
surveyed, requested an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign that was led by – and for –

The Corner’ will also be presented at the 16th International AIDS
Conference’s cultural program in August 2006, which takes place this year in
Toronto, Canada, as well as a second touring phase reaching an additional 20,000
youth in the 2006-2007 school year.

The unique nature of The 411 Initiative For Change’s model of using
artists and music as key agents in social change – from within the education
system, demonstrates innovative, timely and effective response to the growing
need to practice sustainable models for social development.

School Performance Dates (9am and 1pm show each day):

*contact 411 for school names, addresses and times in each city

Winnipeg May 3 – 5, 2006
Ottawa May 8, 9 & 10, 2006
Montreal May 11 & 12, 2006
Guelph May 15, 2006
Toronto May 16 – 19, 2006
Calgary May 24, 25 & 26, 2006
Halifax May 29, 30 & 31, 2006

Contact: The 411 Initiative For Change

416-473-3595 / / / /

[Photo: Eternia].