Celebrities, elected leaders, and thousands of other caring people united to raise over $2 million for critically needed HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs
(Los Angeles, CA, October 23, 2016)— This year’s AIDS Walk Los Angeles (AWLA) brought thousands of participants who filled the streets of Downtown Los Angeles in support of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Participants gathered in and around Grand Park for an Opening Ceremony filled with celebrities and elected officials, music, and inspiring moments.
Longtime AIDS Walk supporter ABC7 News Anchor Ellen Leyva addressed the crowd after a welcoming statement from Peter Gallagher (Law & Order: SVU). ABC7 has returned as AIDS Walk Los Angeles’ television broadcast sponsor, and aired AIDS Walk PSAs featuring walkers from the community.
Celebrities in attendance also included: Pauley Perrette (NCIS), Jenna Ortega (Jane the Virgin), Stephanie Corneliussen (Mr. Robot), Bebe Wood (The Real O’Neals), and Mary Hollis Inboden (The Real O’Neals). India Carney of The Voice sang her hit song, “Glory,” while world-renowned singer Estelle sent walkers off with a stirring performance of “Conqueror.”
This was the event’s first year at Grand Park. “The crowd loved the new location, and we loved the crowd,” said Craig R. Miller, the event’s founder and senior organizer. “The participants were clearly energized by the versatile new venue and all we were able to do with it. AIDS Walk Los Angeles has long been one of the Southland’s most widely embraced charitable events. At Grand Park, it has risen to the level of a major cultural event as well.”
Miller said more than 10,000 people attended and raised over $2 million for APLA Health and other L.A. County HIV service organizations.” “We are incredibly thankful for everyone who registered, raised funds, participated in, and supported AIDS Walk Los Angeles today,” APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig E. Thompson said. “The funds raised through AIDS Walk allow us to provide the most critically needed services for people living with HIV and AIDS, such as housing support, health care, and groceries from our countywide food pantry network. They also ensure we can deliver quality medical, dental, and mental health care—as well as HIV testing, STD screening, and HIV prevention tools such as PrEP—to thousands of low-income individuals every year. This combination of comprehensive care for all and support services for those living with HIV will help us end the epidemic.”
The 10K route showcased architectural and cultural landmarks of the area such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad Museum, and the Music Center. Post-Walk festivities at the Splash Fountain and Performance Lawn of the park featured music, dancing, food trucks, and the Downtown Divas of Drag show, with stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race: Michelle Visage, Delta Work, LaGanja Estranja, Latrice Royal, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, and Morgan McMichaels. Walkers were also invited to partake in Los Angeles food truck favorites Palazzolotruck, Gourmet Genie, Slammin Sliders, and Tainamite. A portion of food truck proceeds went to AIDS Walk Los Angeles.
Since the first walk in 1985, walkers have raised funds totaling more than $84 million for APLA Health, which provides food, housing support, benefits counseling, and much more for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as primary medical, dental, and mental health care and HIV prevention services focused on the low-income LGBT and other underserved communities.
Mayor Eric Garcetti thanked the walkers for their part in ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “When we walk, we show who we are,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We believe that an AIDS-free generation is within our reach. Each step you take saves a life and we thank you.”
“Welcome to Grand Park and to my front yard,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, referring to the central County offices in the Park just blocks away. “I’m so happy that we are able to bring AIDS Walk Los Angeles for the first time in Downtown L.A. and Grand Park in L.A. County.”
Both L.A. City and County teams were reinvigorated by the new locations so close their respective headquarters (L.A. City Hall and the L.A. County Hall of Administration), raising thousands of dollars each for APLA Health and surpassing last year’s fundraising.
Other elected officials in attendance included: California State Senator Bob Hertzberg; California State Assemblymembers Adrin Nazarian and Miguel Santaiago; L.A. County Assessor Jeffrey Prang; L.A. City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell, Paul Krekorian, and Paul Koretz; L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer; L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin; West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister; and West Hollywood City Councilmember John D’Amico.
Also attending were representatives from the event’s top sponsors and top corporate teams. This year’s Premier Sponsors are Gilead Sciences and Quest Diagnostics; Grand Sponsors are ABC7, Delta Air Lines, Paramount Pictures, and Paul Hastings LLP; and Principal Sponsors are Anthem Blue Cross, Macy’s, PepsiCo, and Toyota.
For more information, please visit la.aidswalk.net. To connect with the online community on Facebook, simply join the AIDS Walk Los Angeles Facebook Fan Page. To view exclusive video content, visit the AIDS Walk Los Angeles YouTube channel at youtube.com/aidswalkla. To receive updates, photos, and more, follow “@AIDSWalkLA” on Twitter and Instagram.
About APLA Health: APLA Health’s mission is to achieve health care equity and promote well-being for the LGBT and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. APLA Health provides 20 different services from 15 locations throughout Los Angeles County and serves more than 14,000 people annually. For more information, please visit aplahealth.org.
About AIDS Walk Los Angeles: Since 1985, AIDS Walk Los Angeles has raised more than $84 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 2015 alone, thousands of participants, many of whom were members of 1,600 corporate and community teams, raised over $2 million for AIDS Project Los Angeles and 20 other L.A. County AIDS service organizations. For more information, please 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 founder and senior organizer and has produced hundreds of public service campaigns and fundraising events, generating more than $400 million for major AIDS organizations throughout the country. For more information, please visit mzaevents.com.
Editor’s Note: Diversity News Magazine is a proud media partner for the sixth year in a row of AIDS Walk Los Angeles benefiting AIDS Project Los Angeles. Also Diversity News Publications is a proud media partner for the 1st year of AIDS Walk Los Angeles 2016 benefiting AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA Health). For more information visit http://diversitynewsmagazine.com, http://diversitynewspublications.com or diversitynews3960.diversitynewspublications.com
Photos credit to: Mollywood Photography for DiversityNewsMagazine.com