- Main News
27th Annual Gay Men’s Health Crisis Fundraiser Benefits 40+ HIV/AIDS Groups In Area
By Nathan James
As the sun rose over New York City’s Central Park this morning, more than 45,000 people from all over the Tri-State area converged on the Bandshell for the 27th annual AIDS Walk. The fundraiser, which has become an iconic spring event in the city, raised over six million dollars for more than 40 HIV/AIDS organizations around New York City.
Organized each year by Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the walk began in the park, crossed the West Side of Manhattan at 110th Street, turned south at Riverside Drive, and ended up back at the starting point via West 85th Street.
Among the throngs that took to the streets in the decades-long fight against AIDS were such notables as TV hostess Wendy Williams, Broadway actor Brian Latendre, television producer Nathan Hale Williams, LGBT radio host DJ Baker, Glee‘s Dot-Marie Jones, Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald, and stage/television actor Jason Hunter. ”This is my second AIDS Walk,” said Hunter, “and it’s my privilege to be here.”
Robert Lubell, theater producer and professor at TCI College has participated in all 27 AIDS Walks. ”I walk to remember my friends who died, and the memory of Father Mychal Judge.” Judge was the beloved, gay Fire Department chaplain who was killed during the attack against the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Many people walked as part of a corporate or organizational team, and such household names as NBC Universal, Target, Delta Airlines, UBS, Viacom, and Bristol-Myers Squibb were prominently represented. Such local schools as TCI College, NYU, and Pace were on hand, and all three NYC emergency services joined in the Walk, as well. ”We are so grateful,” said Dr. Marjorie Hill, GMHC’s Executive Director, “for the continuing support of many people throughout the Tri-State area who walk each year to raise much-needed funds.”
The AIDS epidemic, now in its third decade, has claimed the lives of millions across the globe, and here at home, the federal Centers For Disease Control (CDC) report that HIV infections among gay men of color are increasing at an alarming rate.
The CDC estimates that 46% of black gay men are HIV-positive, and of these, as many as a third are unaware of it. GMHC addressed this issue head-on with their “I Love My Boo” campaign on city buses and subways, as part of their ongoing awareness programs for LGBTs of color.
AIDS Walk New York was founded in 1986 by Craig R. Miller.