UPDATE: This article was originally posted July 14. The July 19 event is now posted online. Click the image above to watch—and donate to—“AIDS Walk: Live at Home.”
This year, you don’t have to be in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles to participate in their legendary, star-studded AIDS Walk events. You don’t even have to lift your big toe! All you need is an internet connection. That’s because, in light of COVID-19, all three fundraisers will take place virtually.
What’s more, New York and San Francisco are joining forces for an event Sunday, July 19, that’s billed as the largest, single-day AIDS fundraising effort in the world: “AIDS Walk: Live at Home.”
Whatever city you’re in, you can register and raise funds at AIDSWalk.net—it’s free, and you’re not required to raise a minimum amount.
The money goes to local HIV service organizations, notably GMHC (formerly Gay Men’s Health Crisis) in New York City, PRC (formerly Positive Resource Center) in San Francisco, and APLA Health in Los Angeles.
The Sunday event will be livestreamed starting at 10 a.m. ET/PT on AIDSWalk.net and GMHC.org, with an additional broadcast on San Francisco’s ABC7/KGO-TV and on iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel.
Who doesn’t want to see Bette Midler, Gloria Estefan, Betty Who and Katharine McPhee perform in your own living room or bathtub or wherever it is you watch your shows? AIDS Walk: At Home also includes appearances from Laura Linney, Alan Cumming, the Queer Eye guys, RuPaul’s Drag Race queens (including Jackie Cox, Latrice Royale and Ross Mathews) and too many other celebrities to list—plus local drag talent too.
Meanwhile, the 2020 Los Angeles AIDS Walk takes a different approach, inviting participants to “Get With the Programs” by signing up digitally to raise funds for one of three main HIV and health programs at APLA: care, support or education. Participants will then receive digital content relating to the program or walk that they’re following. Registration is open now. Fundraising for the Los Angeles event launches Monday, July 20, with the virtual walkers heading to a “finish line” on September 13. For more details, visit AIDSWalkLA.org.
“From the Bronx to the Bay Area, this creative joint effort will unite our distinct yet like-minded communities of supporters from across multiple regions. At the same time, supporters from other locations across the country—particularly with cities that do not have their own AIDS Walks—will be able to join in on the fun,” said Brett Andrews, CEO of PRC; Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC; and Craig R. Miller, founder of both AIDS Walk events in a joint statement.
“For those of us who were part of the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the plight of our country right now is at once unprecedented and strangely familiar,” Miller said. “Over the past 34 years, we have always stood, walked and marched with all who oppose police brutality and the racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic disparities that persist in the criminal justice and health care systems of America. Protecting people who have been singled out, harassed, scapegoated and underserved is what we do. It is our legacy and it remains our commitment.”
“Stemming from the uncertainty surrounding the current health care crisis, we collectively decided to bring teams together virtually to create a new vision for the Bay Area’s largest, single-day AIDS-related fundraiser,” Andrews said. “Now marking our 33rd year, we’re really excited about AIDS Walk: Live at Home, which will raise awareness and funds that support HIV care and prevention services as well as mental health, substance use, housing and other important social programs.”
“When the COVID-19 pandemic struck New York City, we moved quickly to adapt our services to meet head on the new environment and its challenges for people living with HIV,” added GMHC’s Louie. “With people sheltering at home, we are bringing GMHC’s services directly to the doorsteps of thousands. We’ve delivered more than 30,000 meals thus far. We are meeting the skyrocketing need for mental health services and legal services, substance use counseling and HIV home testing. Videoconferencing and other technologies have been harnessed to provide help with supportive housing, financial management and so much more, so that our clients’ vital resources continue uninterrupted.”