Thousands to March in AIDS Walk NY, World's Largest AIDS Fundraising Event
GMHC and AIDS Walk leaders expect a larger than usual turnout at this Sunday's May 21st AIDS Walk New York in response to the recent House passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that could soon throw thousands of HIV-positive people off their insurance.
"We see this vote as a direct attack on our clients, many of whom may lose their health insurance and their ability to access lifesaving medications," said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. "The potential outcomes are devastating, not only for the LGBT community, but for all Americans. AIDS Walk New York is a chance for people who care about public health and social justice to rally together and raise their voices against this disastrous bill -- while raising funds to support those it could harm the most."
"As with the civil rights movement 50 years ago, once again we face, in Dr. King's words, 'the fierce urgency of now,' said AIDS Walk Founder and Senior Organizer, Craig R. Miller. "We must act now to beat back the callous and bigoted effort to deny access to healthcare for the most vulnerable among us -- low income people living with HIV, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other life threatening 'pre-existing conditions.'"
The 10-kilometer walk begins and ends in Central Park. Celebrity attendees at the Opening Ceremony will include Grammy Award-winning singer Estelle, Sarah Boggess, Tommy Dorfman, Raul Esparza, Carson Kressley, Javier Muñoz, Denis O'Hare, David Hyde Pierce, Andrew Rannells and Zachary Quinto.
Elected Officials in attendance will include United States Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerrold Nadler; New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud; New York State Assemblymembers Richard N. Gottfried, Félix W. Ortiz, Dan Quart, and David Weprin; New York City Council Members Corey Johnson and Helen Rosenthal; New York City Public Advocate Letitia James; New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer; and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
A Post-Walk show will be held for select participants who have qualified by raising $200 or more, headlined by comedian Kathy Griffin, and featuring special performances by Darren Criss (Glee), Estelle, and "RuPaul's Drag Race" stars Bob the Drag Queen, Jinkx Monsoon, Latrice Royale, Milk, and Trinity K. Bonet. Carson Kressley will host.
For the first time, a 5-mile running route through beautiful Central Park is available to participants as an alternative to the 10K walk.
More than 20,000 participants are expected to attend. The landmark event benefits GMHC and 40 other local AIDS service organizations that provide HIV/AIDS care, prevention services, and advocacy throughout the tri-state area and beyond.
And, as New York City prepares for AIDS Walk New York, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) will "Light Up New York" from May 18 to May 21. Beginning May 18, several New York City landmarks will light up RED, marked by a special ceremony at Empire State Building held that day, to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and build momentum towards AIDS Walk on Sunday, May 21 in Central Park.
Zachary Quinto of "Star Trek Beyond" will host the Lighting Ceremony to launch "Light Up New York" at the Empire State Building on Thursday, May 18 at 2 p.m. Quinto will also appear at the AIDS Walk Opening Ceremony on Sunday morning.
"People living with HIV/AIDS are facing grave threats to their health and human dignity in these uncertain and challenging times," said Kelsey Louie, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. "The illuminated skyline will serve as a reminder that the New York community stands with them, and against the stigma and bigotry that fuel HIV."
For information about participating in or contributing to AIDS Walk New York, call 212-807-9255 (WALK) or visit http://ny.aidswalk.net/