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On a hot and sunny day and on October 14, 2012 over 30,000 participates came out to raise funds for APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles). The first fundraiser walk was in 1985, and every year thousands of people collect donations to support APLA and 29 other L.A. County AIDS Organizations. All the efforts paid off this year, AIDS Walk LA raised for APLA $2,912,209 to fight HIV/AIDS. The event was held at the West Hollywood Park located 647 N San Vicente Blvd in West Hollywood, CA 90069 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

“The 30,000 participants who took to the streets today can take pride in the incredible $2,912,209 raised to fight AIDS and lift up the lives those affected by HIV,” said Craig R. Miller, Founder and Producer of the event.  “Thanks to the thousands of dedicated people who walk and fundraise each year, we have made tremendous progress and we are facing a better day in the fight against AIDS,” Miller says. “But we have to remain strong in our response. We have to remain vigilant. And most of all we have to remain visible.”

APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles) provides care and HIV prevention services throughout Los Angeles. APLA extends to all areas in Los Angeles and has nine food pantries, two dental clinics, and mobile dental van and much more.  Also, prevention education programs are an important part of communities they serve.  They also provide bilingual direct care to those in need.  For more information you can search on their website for details http://apla.org

“As we mark the 31styear of the epidemic in the United States, AIDS Walk Los Angeles remains a critical – and, in fact, the single largest – source of private support for those who rely on APLA’s services,” said Craig E. Thompson, Executive Director of AIDS Project Los Angeles. “With their incredible fundraising, AIDS Walk Los Angeles participants are changing lives, powering prevention efforts, and supporting advocacy work to defend the civil rights of all who live with this still-deadly disease.”

After participates register, they are asked to fundraise to collect donations from family, co-workers and friends.  They set a goal, and get recognized for as much they collect.  When you collect certain amount of funds, you can receive great prices such as an AIDS Walk t-shirt, cap, ear buds or even a hoodie sweatshirt.  When a participant raises $1,000, he/she will receive the entire bundle of gifts. Dedicate supporter such as Cynthia Park, Tom Whitman, and Actress, Pauley Perrette had collected more than $23,000 in contributions. They deserve a hand and appreciation for working so hard in collecting for a great cause.

Schedule of events were organized to make this AIDS Walk possible.  Before the walk, Aerobic warm up got the walkers pumped up to begin their day.  Opening Ceremony followed which celebrities and AIDS walk activists address the crowd to give them encouragement and appreciation for them coming out to support this great organization.

The elected officials and special guests in attendance included:United States Representatives Howard Berman, Adam Schiff, and Maxine WatersCalifornia State Senators Curren D. Price and Rod WrightCalifornia State Assemblymembers Betsy Butler,Isadore Hall,and Ricardo LaraLos Angeles City Councilmembers Paul KoretzPaul KrekorianJan Perry, and Dennis P. ZineLos Angeles City Attorney Carmen TrutanichLos Angeles City AIDS Coordinator Ricky RosalesLos Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy; and West Hollywood City Councilmembers John J. Duran, John Heilman, John D’Amico and West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land.

Awesome celebrities such as Christa B. Allen (“Revenge”), Leslie Bibb (“GCB,” “Popular”), Sophia Bush (“Partners”), Drew Carey (“The Price is Right” Host), Barrett Foa (“NCIS: Los Angeles”), Daisy Fuentes (Television Host), Christopher Gorham (“Covert Affairs,” “Popular”), Dot Marie Jones (“Glee”), Pauley Perrette (“NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigation Service”), Andrew Rannells (”The New Normal,” “Girls”), Jai Rodriguez (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”), Michael Urie (“Partners”), BeBe Wood (“The New Normal”), the cast of MTV’s “Awkward” including Jillian Rose Reed, Nikki Deloach, Jessica Lu, Molly Tarlov, Bryce JohnsonTamara MelloCarly Pope, and Norm Lewis (“Scandal”) joined forces to make this event interesting. (Please click on the photos to view regular size).

APLA emphasis without the support it would not be possible to provide services needed.  After the speeches and saying thank you to all who contributed the walkers set out at 10:00 a.m. Thousands walked holding signs with their company name or group name on it. School children bundle in groups to support. Dad, moms and their children walked hand in hand. Supporters who lost a love one to AIDS, or knows someone who has AIDS started their walk for encouragement.

Advertising is very important to educate and notify people about AIDS Walk LA.  For many years, AIDS Walk Los Angeles purchased paid advertisement on Big Blue Bus (operated by the City of Santa Monica).  This year Big Blue Bus refuses to promote charity advertisements.  AIDS Walk LA feels this is unfair, and hurts their promotion in getting the word out about the walk.  LA Mayor, Antonio R. Villaraigosa announced he will put advertisements on Los Angeles buses next year.

Providing best wishes to APLA, corporate sponsors contribute with love. This year’s Presenting Sponsor was AHF Pharmacy.  The Grand Sponsors included ABC7, The David Geffen Foundation, Paramount Pictures, Paul Hastings, Time Warner Cable, and Toyota.  Principal Sponsors included Albertsons, Delta Air Lines, Macy’s, Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Vons/Pavilions. Every penny counts, so APLA thanks all supporters and contributors.

A special thank you goes out to AIDS Walk LA management and staff for gathering thousands of people to Los Angeles to announce the importance of this organization, and why they work so hard to help those infected with AIDS. Awareness to all, that anyone can be infected with AIDS, but there is hope. Every year contributions make it possible to educate and provided services. It doesn’t stop here you can always donate by going to http://aidswalk.net/losangeles.  You can make a difference.

About AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA):  AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest nonprofit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education, and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation.  With nearly 30 years of service, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national, and global reach.  For more information, visit apla.org.

About AIDS Walk Los Angeles:  Since 1985, AIDS Walk Los Angeles has raised more than $75 million for HIV programs and services throughout Los Angeles County, and has grown into one of the largest AIDS fundraising events in the country.  In 2011 alone, 30,000 participants, many of whom were members of 1,600 corporate and community teams, raised $3 million for AIDS Project Los Angeles and 24 other L.A. County AIDS service organizations.  For more information, visit aidswalk.net.

About MZA Events: AIDS Walk Los Angeles was founded in 1985 by Craig R. Miller and his organization of activists, MZA Events.  Miller is the AIDS Walk originator and has produced hundreds of public service campaigns and fundraising events, generating more than $368 million for major AIDS organizations throughout the country.  For more information, please visit mzaevents.com.

Sources: AIDS Project Los Angeles, AIDS Walk Los Angeles, MZA Events

Photos credit to: Donna F. Aceto for MZA Events/AIDS Walk Los Angeles and Stella Gomez, Disco Stella’s Pics for Diversity News Magazine. 

Editor’s Note: Diversity News Magazine published by Diversity News Publications, is an Official Media Partner for the second year in a row for the 28th Annual AIDS Walk LA 2012.

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