Why AIDS Walk New York City is Still Very Important to This Day

Credit: Ricardo Rodriguez

AIDS Walk NYC, taking place on Sunday, May 19, is a fantastic precursor to what will be an unforgettable Pride Month here in The Big Apple.

Did you know that it’s the largest single-day AIDS fundraising event in the world? This yearly gathering, which has been around for over 30 years now, has some incredible statistics on top of the one that has already been mentioned.

The numbers don’t lie. AIDS Walk New York has inspired close to 900,000 people to walk and millions more to donate. The amount it has raised so far is over $150 million dollars with the purpose of combatting HIV and AIDS.

According to the official website, the funds raised at the event remain a vital lifeline sustaining the prevention, care, and advocacy programs GMHC provides for the thousands of individuals and families affected by the disease in the tri-state area. The proceeds also benefit several HIV/AIDS service organizations that are able to participate as teams and raise funds through the Community Partnership Program (CPP).

Last year’s event attracted 20,000 attendees and A-list stars like Rosie Perez, Matt Bomer and the guys from Queer Eye (Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness). It also included some incredible performances by The Pointer Sisters and several RuPaul’s Drag Race alums like Phi Phi O’Hara and Trinity the Tuck. That one day, keep in mind the word one here, raised nearly $4.5 million dollars.

Credit: Ricardo Rodriguez

Fundraising for the event can be done on an individual or team level. Take for instance the House of Xtravaganza, who have already raised a great amount of money with a purpose that goes beyond the dollar amount. Their team is doing this to honor the late Hector Xtravaganza, who passed in December.

Hector was a public advocate for HIV/AIDS organizations starting from the early-1990s and was himself a long-term survivor of the virus.  It’s an emotional thing for many involved, including team leader Manny Xtravaganza, who was inducted into the house by Father Jose and Uncle Karl and has done all he can to raise funds for such an important cause.

Manny Xtravaganza. Credit: Ricardo Rodriguez

This is an event that nobody in our community should miss out on or help with. For more information, please check out the official New York AIDS Walk website here.