Today, AIDS Walk: Live at Home 2021, an event spearheaded by GMHC of New York and AIDS Walk San Francisco Foundation, announced that Sir Elton John and David Furnish will be honored as a centerpiece of the virtual program. This year’s AIDS Walk: Live at Home is the culmination of the fundraising efforts of six AIDS Walk events which encompass all corners of the nation. Cities collaborating now include Austin, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Milwaukee, in addition to Los Angeles, which will launch its fundraising efforts on Sunday. Funds raised will principally benefit GMHC, Vivent Health, CrescentCare, AIDS Walk San Francisco Foundation, Lifelong, as well as supporting dozens of other AIDS organizations.
Sir Elton John and David Furnish have, for decades, been at the forefront of the AIDS battle. In 1991, the world-renowned rock star helped kick off the first AIDS Walk in Atlanta. One year later, John founded The Elton John AIDS Foundation, at which Furnish serves as Chairman of their Board of Trustees. The Foundation is committed to overcoming the stigma and neglect that keeps us from ending AIDS, especially in the most vulnerable communities. John and Furnish have used their platform tirelessly. John first did it with hit recordings like 1985’s “That’s What Friends Are For,” and 1992’s “The Last Song” He has penned op-eds about HIV for the New York Times and The Atlantic, and given speeches at a number of International AIDS Conferences. Together, they host their annual Academy Awards Viewing Party, benefiting the Foundation, which is one of the world’s most visible and effective AIDS fundraisers.
AIDS Walk: Live at Home will also feature performances and appearances by a select list of talent, who themselves have a history of association with HIV/AIDS charities, including: Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award winning trailblazer, Billy Porter; Golden Globe Award winning actress, singer and dancer Ann-Margret; Screen Actors Guild Award and Grammy Award winning singer and actress Danielle Brooks; Tony and Grammy Award winning actress Heather Headley; Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winning legend, Rita Moreno; actor, singer, writer, producer, director and activist Tony Goldwyn; singer and actress Liz Callaway; actor and singer Alex Newell; Golden Globe and Oscar nominated, choreographer and community activist Rosie Perez; actor, designer and host Carson Kressley; actor, author and activist George Takei; and Stars from the Emmy Award winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.
With live segments planned, including “Viewing Parties” from New York’s iconic Tavern on the Green located within Central Park and the Robin Williams Meadow in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, AIDS Walk: Live at Home will be broadcast on ABC7/KGO-TV in the Bay Area and streamed live on CBSN and AIDSWalk.net.
AIDS Walk Los Angeles is the world’s first walk to fight HIV and AIDS. Back in 1985, a group of fed-up activists, patients, advocates, and friends gathered at the Paramount Pictures “Sky Set” to shake the government into action during the AIDS crisis.Since then, hundreds of thousands of walkers have raised more than $90 million so that APLA Health is equipped to fight HIV and AIDS in Los Angeles County. These funds help sustain and expand APLA Health’s prevention, care, and advocacy programs for more than 18,000 individuals living in Los Angeles County.
“AIDS Walk: Live at Home will reflect the strength and individual character of all six landmark events and the communities that embrace them year after year,” said Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC, Isaac Rodriguez of the AIDS Walk San Francisco Foundation, and Craig R. Miller, Founder of the AIDS Walks in New York and San Francisco among other cities.
“Vivent Health is pleased to join with the nation’s most visible HIV/AIDS fundraising events,” said Michael Gifford, President and CEO at Vivent Health. “Through partnership with AIDS Walk Wisconsin and AIDS Walk Austin – both part of the Vivent Health family – we will connect with other cities in our shared goal to end HIV/AIDS.”
“In Washington State and around the country, we continue to see Black, LatinX and Indigenous communities disproportionately impacted by new HIV cases,” said Claire Neal, Lifelong CEO. “We are excited to work hand-in-hand with like-minded organizations throughout the nation collaborating on AIDS Walk: Live at Home.”
“This is a brilliant opportunity for us to participate in a wide-scale effort that brings attention to the HIV crisis that still looms in this country,” said Noel Twilbeck, CEO of CrescentCare in New Orleans. “Together, our voices will be heard as one. HIV eradication is within our grasp.”
“This is our 35th AIDS Walk, and we have put more than $100 million dollars back into the community, which has been raised over the years for different agencies we help, and different services that are provided, said Robert Mansfield, Foundation Board Member AIDS Walk San Francisco. “Those services and those agencies need the money now more than ever. The underserved communities are still in dire need of our help.”
“The AIDS Walk events in each of the participating cities have their own unique characteristics. But the clients we serve all face very similar challenges. It makes sense for us to come together as one community and to unite some of the nation’s most powerful and effective AIDS fundraisers from all regions of the country.” said Louie.
“In doing this work, we have been brought together by one pandemic even as we continue to fight another. The public’s recent revelations about racism, bias and hate in America are in fact at the heart of what AIDS Walks have been working to expose, confront and change for decades.” said Miller. “We have long stood, walked and marched to oppose the racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic disparities that persist in America and throughout our healthcare and criminal justice systems. Protecting people who have been singled out, harassed, scapegoated and underserved is what we do. It is our legacy and it remains our commitment.”
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