PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO | In a year when health care is front and center in the nation’s public discourse, 20,000 New Yorkers turned out for the 32nd annual AIDS Walk, sponsored by Gay Men’s Health Crisis and which raises funds for that agency and several dozen other AIDS services groups in the tri-state area.
Outpacing last year’s haul by roughly $85,000, the event raised an estimated $4.59 million, according figures from GMHC.
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“Thanks to our supporters, GMHC is leading the charge to demand access to healthcare — for those we serve and for all Americans,” Kelsey Louie, GMHC’s CEO, said in a written statement. “We issued the call, and AIDS Walk participants responded by showing up — to help people living with HIV; to help people in need of food, housing, and care; and to help certain elected leaders see what compassion looks like.”
Craig Miller, the event’s senior organizer, took more direct aim at Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act implemented during the Obama administration, saying, “The noise, negativity, and nonsense out of Washington cannot drown out this demand from New Yorkers: We refuse to allow healthcare discrimination against people with HIV, diabetes, heart disease, and dozens of other ‘pre-existing conditions.’ We are fighting lawmakers that seek to strip away healthcare from millions. Our pre-existing conditions of compassion and unity will overcome efforts to divide and exclude.”
This year, for the first time, participants were free to choose between the customary 10-kilometer walk through Central Park and the Upper West Side and a five-mile run in the park. And, in addition to the pre-walk Opening Ceremony that featured a dozen or so celebrities, there was a post-walk show helmed by comedian Kathy Griffin.