HIV/AIDS Advocate - Since September of 2000, Candy Samples (aka Will Harrell) has called NYC home. In 2002 she landed her first NYC gig at Albatross Bar hosting karaoke, and there immersed herself in the city’s community affairs.
Rallying with Marriage Equality New York, performing sketch comedy and social satire with the group Gender Offenders and involving herself with Queens Pride, this singer-songwriter personality has demonstrated that a drag queen can entertain and be a force for social change and progress.
Candy turned her attention to an issue that affected her personally - and became laser focused on HIV/AIDS awareness, fundraising and activism. Becoming an annual tradition at New Orleans’ Southern Decadence, Candy has performed a benefit show for the NO/AIDS Task Force’s Food for Friends Program, helping raise nearly $90,000 over 10 years.
Confronting HIV/AIDS is nothing new for Candy. Her father, a hemophiliac, was diagnosed in 1988 and died in 1991. Losing her father to HIV/AIDS is the burning motivation for Candy to be an integral part of New York’s plan to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020.
It’s clear that Candy, and Will, practice what they preach when they declare, “Use your powers for GOOD!”
HIV/AIDS activist - Jesse raises both money and awareness to support those individuals infected and affected by HIV & AIDS. Jesse got his start in HIV activism at the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation in 2002. He went on to work at MZA Events which produces AIDS Walk events in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In 2011, he teamed up with Candy Samples to form the Candy Wrappers AIDS Walk New York team. Through direct advocacy, community building, and events, the two have led the team to raise over $200,000.
Queens Pride Lions Club
The Queens Pride Lions Club is the first LGBT-Powered Lions Club in New York. Aims to bring the commitment to Service the Lions Clubs are famous for to the LGBT community in and around Queens, NY and the entire New York City through volunteer service projects and events that will make our community safer and stronger. Additionally, they provide a friendly and accepting environment for members of the LGBT community to contribute to service projects and give back to the community.
Lions meet the needs of local communities and the world every day because they share a core belief – to serve their community. Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization. We have 1.35 million members in more than 45,000 clubs in more than 206 countries and geographic areas.