On Sunday, May 21, the sun shined on more than 20,000 participants who took part in the 32nd AIDS Walk New York (AWNY) in New York City’s Central Park. The annual event raised $4,588,214 million for GMHC and dozens of other tristate-area AIDS organizations. This year, for the first time, participants had the option of running a five-mile route as an alternative to the 10K walk.
As the nation waits for the Senate to review and decide the fate of the American Health Care Act, this year’s walk had an even greater sense of urgency as New Yorkers showed their support for protecting heath care for people living with HIV and other health issues.
“Thanks to our supporters, GMHC is leading the charge to demand access to health care—for those we serve—and for all Americans,” said Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC. “We issued the call, and AIDS Walk participants responded by showing up to help people living with HIV; to help people in need of food, housing, and care; and to help certain elected leaders see what compassion looks like.”
“We are fighting lawmakers that seek to strip away health care from millions” said Craig R. Miller, AIDS Walk founder and senior organizer. “Our preexisting conditions of compassion and unity will overcome efforts to divide and exclude.”
Celebrity attendees at the opening ceremony included Grammy Award–winning singer Estelle, Sierra Boggess (Broadway’s The Little Mermaid), Frenchie Davis (American Idol), Tommy Dorfman (13 Reasons Why), Raul Esparza (Law & Order: SVU), Carson Kressley (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Jinkx Monsoon (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Javier Muñoz (Hamilton), Denis O’Hare (HBO’s True Blood), David Hyde Pierce (Hello, Dolly!), Andrew Rannells (Girls) and Zachary Quinto (Star Trek Beyond).
Elected officials in attendance included U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler; New York State Senator Brad Hoylman; New York State Assemblymen Richard N. Gottfried and Félix W. Ortiz; New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer; Counsel to New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Alphonso David; LGBTQ liaison to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Matthew McMorrow; and director of the New York State AIDS Institute, Johanne Morne.
This year (also for the first time), a post-walk show was held in Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield for participants who raised a minimum of $200. The show was hosted by Carson Kressley and featured performances by comedian Kathy Griffin; Darren Criss (Glee) and his band, Computer Games; Estelle; and RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Bob the Drag Queen, Jinkx Monsoon, Latrice Royale, Milk, and Trinity K. Bonet.
AIDS Walk New York has raised nearly $150 million for HIV organizations since the first walk in 1986. It is the largest AIDS fundraising event in the world. This year’s walk was sponsored by Delta Air Lines, Gilead Sciences, ViiV Healthcare, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AHF Pharmacy, Barclays, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, Pepsico, Quest Diagnostics, The Village Voice, and Williams-Sonoma.
For more information about AIDS Walk New York, visit ny.aidswalk.net/.
For more information about GMHC, visit gmhc.org.