In these fractious times, AIDS Walk New York was a day of joyful unity. Over 10,000 New Yorkers converged on Central Park on Sunday, May 21 to remember those we’ve lost and celebrate how far we’ve come in the ongoing fight against HIV and AIDS.
Thanks to their incredible fundraising efforts, we raised $2,102,534 to sustain GMHC’s vital services for New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV and AIDS! It’s still possible to contribute at aidswalkny.org. You can also text aidswalkny to 325–603–3395 to get the donation link.
So many caring and committed teams from all over New York City made this happen—plus about 400 volunteers who helped out in Central Park. The top five fundraising teams were: Francine’s Team—A Promise to a Friend; The Church of St. Mary the Virgin; MAC Cosmetics; Gift for Life/NY NOW; and the GMHC Smooth Operators. Our top individual fundraisers were: Francine Goldstein, Donna Gins, Mark Milstein, James Matte, and Michael K. Watts.
“The 38th annual AIDS Walk New York brought together thousands of caring people whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS in a powerful demonstration of compassion and action,” said Kishani Moreno, GMHC’s interim CEO and COO, after the event on May 21.
“HIV and AIDS are not over,” Moreno added. “There is still no cure or vaccine. So today we walked to remember those lost, recognize the important accomplishments we’ve made over the years, and to shine a light on the work we still need to do—together—to end the HIV epidemic.”
The NYC Gay Men’s Chorus kicked off the Opening Ceremony at the Naumburg Bandshell, which featured appearances from Broadway stars Javier Muñoz and Crystal Monee Hall. For the second year in a row, Congressman Jerrold Nadler rallied everyone with an inspiring speech. Lynn Baxter, the Head of North America for ViiV Healthcare, the event’s presenting sponsor, and George Gates, the senior community liaison for Gilead Sciences, our premier sponsor, also addressed the crowd.
We thank all the elected officials who attended: New York State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, former New York State Senator and Councilmember Tom Duane, Assemblymember Tony Simone, New York City Councilmembers Erik Bottcher and Carlina Rivera, and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.
It was a beautiful day for our runners and walkers along the four-mile route through Central Park, with Gotham Cheer and New York Cheer, among other performers, energizing the crowd. The top three finishers in the run were Fabrizio Toscano, Stanley Cooper, and Davi Gutierrez. After the walk, the exuberant participants reconvened at the Bandshell for the Paradise Garage dance party with DJ Trevor Fox, followed by a fantastic vogue performance from the Iconic House of Miyake Mugler. GMHC also provided free HIV testing!
We are grateful to the many generous corporate sponsors who support AIDS Walk New York: Presenting Sponsor ViiV Healthcare; Premier Sponsor Gilead Sciences; Grand Sponsor PepsiCo; Principal Sponsors 1-800-Got-Junk?, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Druckenmiller Foundation, The Keith Haring Foundation, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka; Major Sponsors Avita, DoorDash, Mesmerize, and Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation; and Supporting Sponsors American Elevator Group, CVS Specialty, Merck, New York Presbyterian, Paramount, Paul Weiss, PwC, TD Bank, and the Morrison Foerster Foundation.
We would like to give special thanks to our media sponsor, CBS 2 New York and event emcees Dana Tyler and Jessi Mitchell, for their insightful live coverage of the Opening Ceremony, as well as weather reporter John Elliott’s fun and inspiring interviews that included GMHC’s Krishna Stone, Jason Cianciotto, and Richarlene Walsh.
Prior to the walk, CBS 2 New York also featured an interview with two fabulous team leaders and an incredible series of stories about GMHC’s clients and their needs, including long-term HIV survivors and women living with HIV.
“In New York City, there are still about 1,500 people a year who test positive for HIV. HIV and AIDS is not over and we’re going to be here at AIDS Walk New York every year until it is,” Cianciotto, GMHC’s vice president of communications and policy, told CBS New York.