New York,

New York, NY, June 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

New York, NY— The Latino Commission on AIDS will be honoring Miss Spain 2018, Angela Ponce, the first openly transgender Miss Universe contestant, with the 2019 Ilka Award at its annual Cielo Gala on Friday, June 7, 2019 at Cipriani Wall Street. 

As the largest annual fundraiser in response to the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic for the past 24 years, Cielo Gala has become an important platform to applaud the work of those who support the Commission’s goal of advancing the health and wellbeing of the Hispanic/Latino community. The Ilka Award commemorates the life of actress and advocate Ilka Tanya Payan, who lost her life to AIDS, to honor outspoken and supportive celebrities who give their voice and time to HIV and AIDS causes.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be recognized at this year’s Cielo Gala,” said Ms. Ponce.“I’d like to add my passion and commitment to join the Commission’s mission to Design a World without AIDS and give voice and visibility to all people, no matter who they are.” 

Ms. Ponce, who is from Pilas in southern Spain, is not only the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe, she was also the first transgender woman to win her country’s Miss Spain title.Growing up in Spain, Ponce dreamed of competing in pageants but she never imagined she would actually make it this far. Ms. Ponce’s mission is to be a role model for young people and show them that it’s possible to live an incredible life as an openly transgender person. In addition to the Latino Commission, she is working with the Daniela Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps children and parents who are struggling with transgender issues.

“We are thrilled to have Ms. Angela Ponce join the Commission on AIDS in our quest to Design a World Without AIDS,” said Guillermo Chacón, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS. Her presence with us this year is especially significant as we pay tribute in June to the ground-breaking Latinx leaders of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement during World Pride in New York City. Ms. Ponce is another beacon of hope for our cause, in advocating for equal rights and equal treatment for all. 

For the past 24 years, the Latino Commission on AIDS has gathered artists, musicians, fashion designers, the business community, public officials, and key leaders in health care to raise funds for programs and services to reduce the stigma and to improve the future of those living with, and affected by HIV and AIDS. 

The 2019 Cielo Gala will raise funds to create and promote HIV and AIDS service programs and initiatives aimed at increasing awareness, prevention, and treatment education, as well as Trans-led community empowerment initiatives. 

For more information and support to the Cielo Gala 2019, please visit: www.cielolatino.org

Ms. Ponce will be available for interviews prior to the gala, Thursday, June 6th. Media requests for interviews should be directed to Sara Laudensack, from ARCOS Communications


About the Latino Commission on AIDS

The Latino Commission on AIDS (Commission) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 dedicated to meet the health challenges and address the impact of HIV/AIDS, viral Hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the Hispanic/Latinx community. The Commission is the leading organization coordinating National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day (May 15), National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (October 15), Latinos in the South, and other prevention, research, capacity building, and advocacy programs across the United States and its territories. The Commission is also the founder of the Hispanic Health Network, dedicated to addressing health disparities.


Miss Spain 2018 Angela Ponce

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