With blue skies over Boston and a strong feeling of community in the air, thousands of walkers, runners, and supporters gathered on Boston Common on June 7 for the 30th AIDS Walk Boston and 5K Run. The theme of looking back over three decades of AIDS fundraising and activism was evident, as videos of past AIDS Walks played on giant screens and the From All Walks of Life team was celebrated for its members’ many years of hard work.
The opening ceremonies were host to politicians, local celebrities, activists, artists, and students, all dedicated to the work of bringing the number of HIV infections to zero. AIDS Action Committee Executive Director Carl Sciortino kicked off the speaking portion by welcoming the excited crowd to the historic day.
Radio personality Randy Price from WCVB’s Eye Opener program served as MC of the opening ceremonies.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke on the success Massachusetts has seen in helping those affected by AIDS live full lives. The state leads the nation in the percentage of HIV+ residents who, through medical intervention and healthy living, have their disease under control.
Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg was honored as a longtime champion of the HIV/AIDS battle.
AAC Board of Directors member Raul Medina called for more widespread HIV/AIDS outreach to the Latino/a community.
AIDS Walk Boston co-founder and member of Team From All Walks of Life Liz Page took the podium to tell the story of AIDS Walk Boston’s humble beginnings as a grassroots effort to fight an epidemic that was ravaging Boston’s LGBT community in the 1980s.
The Bette Byrnes Award, named for a longtime supporter of AIDS Walk Boston, was presented to student members of the Walnut Hill School For the Arts Artists Against AIDS group in honor of their decade-long support for the Walk. The students then treated the crowd to a beautiful rendition of “Seasons of Love” from the musical RENT.
After a warmup led by Boston RunBase, it was time to start moving! The 5K Run, which took off from the Esplanade, saw impressive displays of athleticism, with some runners making their personal best times. Meanwhile, thousands tackled the Walk, which stretched an impressive 6.2 miles from the Common through Brookline and the Esplanade.
Volunteers at the three water stops kept the walkers well fed and hydrated with nutritious snacks.
Signs along the Esplanade allowed walkers to learn the timeline of AIDS in Massachusetts and the AIDS Action Committee’s history.
The Finish Line was a welcome sight, with a bustling Wellness Festival, sponsored by Whole Foods Market, waiting with refreshments. Dozens of vendors were on hand all day to supply delicious food and drink samples to a crowd that had certainly earned it.
With many donations still coming in, we’re happy to report that the 30th AIDS Walk Boston and 5K Run is on target to raise $1 million! These generous donations will help the AIDS Action Committee continue its legacy of life-saving programs and services for Massachusetts’ HIV/AIDS community.
From all of us at AIDS Action Committee and Fenway Health, we’d like extend our gratitude and thanks to all who walked, ran, donated, and volunteered to make this such a successful day!
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