Year after year after year, since 1988, I have asked you all to help me raise money for AIDS Walk. So here I am again, asking you to give generously. I'm setting high fundraising goals, and I know that, together, we can reach them.
Why? Because AIDS is not over. While the world has been battling the COVID crisis for over a year, the AIDS pandemic is still very much a humanitarian crisis after 40 years.
Families, artists, and communities around the world are grappling with ways to memorialize the millions of lives lost to COVID. Meanwhile, the AIDS Memorial Quilt has been a worldwide symbol of grief, and a call to action, since 1987, during the darkest days of the AIDS crisis. The Quilt continues to teach, to heal, to inspire.
In January 2020 the AIDS Memorial Quilt returned to San Francisco, after having been based in Atlanta since 1999. It has found a new home as part of the National AIDS Memorial. And while pandemic safety protocols have prevented live displays of the Quilt during the past year, the Quilt still continues to grow, and to support the community.
I made my first Quilt panel, and began volunteering with the Quilt, in September 1988, and I have been part of the Quilt family ever since - making panels, coordinating the reading of names at displays in San Francisco and Washington DC, comforting grieving visitors, sharing the Quilt's story and mission.
I support the important work being done by the AIDS Memorial Quilt and the National AIDS Memorial, and ask you to support my efforts to help them. I know this past year has been harder than any of us could have anticipated at this time last year. But your contribution, of whatever size, makes a difference. 80% of funds we raise directly benefit the work done by the National AIDS Memorial and the Quilt. The other 20% supports other local HIV/AIDS organizations providing prevention programs and direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Since we receive no government fund, the money raised through AIDS Walk makes it possible for us to continue serving our community.
So please, give what you can. AIDS Walk is coming up sooner than usual this year - May 16th! I hope you will once again be part of my team on this journey.
Thank you, my friends.
(As always, my friend Bruce Smith's spirit will be walking with me - my dear friend and AIDS Walk mentor. <3 )