Sunday I was able to be one of the thousands of people that participated in Los Angeles AIDS Walk Los Angeles. This was the 30th year of AIDS Walk LA and you could feel the energy of the streets, the enthusiasm of the walkers, the momentum of the movement. It was truly an awesome experience to be a part of.
Upon arriving the streets of West Hollywood, which served as the start and finish line, it felt like Pride morning minus the booze. While there was level of excitement there was also an absolute sense of reverence in the air. This might be an event where many have fun with what they wear, how they express themselves, but this march of people is different from a Pride march. This was a walk for awareness, this was a walk for a cause, this was a walk for remembrance.
There were people there from high schools, colleges, major networks like Bravo and Fox had a presence there. Individual walkers had colorful costumes. Some people ran the whole way, people pushed their children in strollers, and some held signs of loved ones lost to the disease. There were thousands of people there, walking for a plethora of reasons, each walking for their own meaning.
Some people have often what is the point of walks like thess? Well, there is the obvious reason where people fundraise, but what’s the point of the walk? One word: Visibility.
When it comes to finding a cure for something once viewed as incurable, money matters, but having hundreds, thousands, take over the streets of a major city it is seen by so many more who are not walking. That level of visibility of thousands reminds millions that AIDS is still with us and needs to end.
Everyone who walks, in any of these walks (AIDS Walk also have walks in NY and SF) for any amount of time, makes a public statement that they stand with those who are committed and determined to see a cure in our lifetime.
We live in a world that once saw this awful virus quickly become a monstrous epidemic and now we live in a world where a cure is possible. It might be years away, but it is a within reach. It is a reality that can be made possible by anyone willing to take a step, take action, and help create the reality of a more healthy tomorrow.
For more information on ways to help please find a local HIV/AIDS event or organization near you. You can also check out amFAR‘s website for more ways you can contribute or donate.