The coronavirus pandemic forced the AIDS Walk to go virtual for a second consecutive year, but some New Yorkers gathered on May 16 for a small watch party at Central Park’s Tavern on the Green.
The “AIDS Walk: Live at Home” event, led by GMHC of New York and AIDS Walk San Francisco Foundation, featured a virtual broadcast with a half-dozen cities beyond New York, including San Francisco, New Orleans, Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee. The fundraising event set out to raise money for GMHC and other organizations serving people living with HIV/AIDS.
With mask mandates dissipating across the nation, a couple dozen individuals mingled at tables under a tent at Tavern on the Green while they watched the festivities and enjoyed some live entertainment. The event’s on-site performers included Broadway stars Adam Pascal and Sherie Rene Scott as well as the Oneonta State Choir and the Big Apple Corp.
“This year marks the fourth decade of the epidemic, and GMHC has been on the front lines since the beginning,” GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie said during the broadcast. “Today we serve more than 10,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. Over the last year we have been maintaining our services remotely, including meals and nutrition, supportive housing, legal and workforce development services, and mental health and substance use counseling. This past year, despite the COVID pandemic, we have provided our clients with more than 100,000 meals. I’m proud of the fact that we continue to fight the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and at the same time, confront the two public health crises of COVID and race based violence. This past year has taught us once again that silence equals death.”
Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, received the Lifetime Achievement Award and several other celebrities showed up on screen, as well, including Billy Porter of “Pose.”