It was fifteen years ago that I participated in my first AIDS Walk. I had only known my status for a few short months and I remember feeling incredibly vulnerable as I had only just begun adjusting to my new life living with the virus. However, looking back, taking that first step towards my future at the walk was a defining moment in my journey.
There are many layers to my relationship with AIDS Walk. As the Chief Executive Officer of Cascade AIDS Project I know just how crucial the funds we raise are to the community. Each year, thanks to the generosity of the Walkers and their donors we are able to fill gaps in prevention and support programs for those living with or affected by HIV.
As an activist, I see the power of people coming together for this cause. AIDS Walk was formed 32 years ago as a way to amplify our message in a time when our government would not listen, and unfortunately despite how far we’ve come, that need is still strong today. There continue to be consistent attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, communities of color, immigrants,women and all those traditionally furthest from opportunity.
So, as a person living with HIV, this Walk is personal. In the 15 years that I have been living with this disease, I have lost too many friends and loved ones. I have watched our brightest and most beautiful souls fade away long before their time. I walk for them. To honor those I’ve lost the best way I know how, by standing up, putting one foot in front of the other, and fighting back. Each step I take at the Walk will be a recommitment to this work. HIV/AIDS was allowed to flourish due to bigotry and fear, we are still fighting those sentiments today. This is why we must join together to make our collective voices heard.
If you are not already registered for the Walk, please do.If you will not be in Portland on the 7thand still want to participate, please register as well. We have many friends who are currently raising funds and will be ‘walking’ with us on the 7th from all over the country. Finally, if you can’t walk but want to support our fight, please consider making a general donation to AIDS Walk. Whatever you can give, let your contribution be your step forward in the fight against HIV. All funds raised will support the work of Cascade AIDS Project and our partner organizations.
Thank you to those how have already registered to Walk and/or have donated to the cause. I am profoundly grateful for your support, together our voices will be heard, and together we can end this disease and achieve our dream of an HIV free generation.
Now is Our Time,