10,000 People participate in AIDS Walk San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (July 15, 2018) – Ten thousand people gathered together on Sunday in Golden Gate Park for the 32nd annual AIDS Walk San Francisco (AWSF), both in support of people living with HIV/AIDS and to defend the dignity and equality of vulnerable populations everywhere.

Walkers raised $1.814 million this year in support of ACRIA, PRC, and Project Open Hand, as well as dozens of other Bay Area HIV/AIDS service organizations.

“AIDS Walk San Francisco provides us with the opportunity to not only show our support for those affected by HIV/AIDS, but to bring attention to the fact that people living with HIV/AIDS need unique services—especially as they age,” said Kelsey Louie, Executive Director of ACRIA. “We’re grateful that so many Bay Area folks came out to support the Walk, and that they continue to support the dozens of organizations throughout the region that are helping people make real progress in their lives.”

The 10-kilometer Walk took place entirely within Golden Gate Park, with the start and finish lines at Robin Williams Meadow.

The day began with the Macy’s Star Walker and VIP Breakfast, followed by the Macy’s Aerobic Warm-Up from the main stage led by fitness celebrity Bethany Meyers. At the Opening Ceremony, celebrities included Barrett Foa (NCIS: Los Angeles), Nico Tortorella (Younger), Dale Soules (Orange is the New Black), and longtime supporter ABC-7 news anchor Dan Ashley. Mezzo-soprano Alexandra Urquiola performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and Broadway veteran Leslie McDonel sang “Brave” and “Your Song” to inspire the participants before they stepped off.

At the Post-Walk Show, co-hosted by Nico Tortorella, Bethany Meyers, and RuPaul’s Drag Race star Alexis Michelle, participants were treated to performances by renowned R&B artist Deborah Cox; RuPaul’s Drag Race stars The Vixen, Milk, Delta Work, and ChiChi DeVayne; and Dan Ashley. Walk participants filled Robin Williams Meadow, and folks who raised $200 or more enjoyed access to an exclusive VIP lounge.

Since 1987, AWSF has raised more than $90 million for a variety of Bay Area HIV/AIDS care, prevention services, and advocacy organizations and has long been Northern California’s largest AIDS fundraising event.

The Walk’s three lead beneficiaries are all working to end AIDS in the Bay Area and beyond. ACRIA’s research and advocacy programs focus on older adults living with HIV, studying their unique needs and determining the services they need to thrive. PRC connects people affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use issues , or mental health issues to social and health services to help them live healthier lives. And Project Open Hand’s mission is to nourish and engage the Bay Area community by providing meals to the sick and elderly.

The Premier Sponsor of AIDS Walk San Francisco 2018 is Gilead. The Walk’s Grand Sponsors are ABC7 and Quest Diagnostics. Major sponsors include Gap, Kaiser Permanente, Levi Strauss, The Examiner, and SF Weekly. Principal Sponsors are BIO-RAD, Chevron, ViiV Healthcare, Team Cannabis, and Wells Fargo. Supporting Sponsors are Marriot San Francisco Marquis and Williams Sonoma California. Event Sponsors are A Black Tie Affair, Adobe, Ellie Mae, Jones Day, Recology, and Seyfarth Shaw. The Co-Chair Supporting Sponsor is Baker McKenzie.

ACRIA & Saks Fifth Avenue host luncheon for Leap for Girls

ACRIA’s Executive Director Benjamin Bashein, Saks Fifth Avenue SVP & Fashion Director Roopal Patel, and Julia Sherman, author of Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists, hosted an intimate luncheon celebrating ACRIA's Leadership Empowerment and Awareness Program (LEAP) for Girls. Part of ACRIA’s newly launched Love Heals Youth Education Program, LEAP for Girls trains a new generation of community educators and activists in East Harlem, Central Brooklyn, and the Bronx—NYC communities of color experiencing the highest incidence of HIV. LEAP for Girls equips young women by strengthening their leadership abilities—including public speaking, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills—and educating them about self-esteem, HIV prevention, and sexual health. To date, over 650 young women have graduated from LEAP for Girls who, have in turn reached nearly 15,000 of their peers through community action projects. Additionally, by supporting LEAP for Girls alumnae as they go off to college (and they are often the first in their family to do so) the program helps young women strengthen their sense of self. ACRIA’s expansion into the important field of youth education began in 2017 with the acquisition of Love Heals: The Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education.

The three-course menu at this exciting first-ever event focused on seasonal salads and was designed by Julia Sherman, multimedia artist, photographer, blogger and, most recently, author of the newly published cookbook Salad For President: A Cookbook Inspired By Artists (Abrams Books, May 2017) containing more than 75 recipes with contributions and interviews by artists and creative professionals like William Wegman, Tauba Auerbach, Laurie Anderson, and Alice Waters. To learn more visit saladforpresident.com. 

To see more images of the event, click here