"Everyday People" theme of 2019 AIDS Walk OKC fundraiser

Scenes from the 2018 AIDS Walk OKC. Photo by Robin Dorner.

The board of AIDS Walk OKC is proud to announce Everyday People as the theme for the Annual AIDS Walk on Sunday, September 29. This year will mark the 21st annual walk in OKC.

In 2016, approximately 6,000 Oklahomans were living with HIV, and the state ranked 27th in the nation for new HIV diagnoses annually with an estimated 325 diagnosed each year. HIV continues to disproportionately impact the south-eastern regions of the United States, predominately in the African American and Hispanic communities.

“I am always surprised at the number of people who think HIV/AIDS no longer exists because it isn’t in the news every day,” said Verna Meadows, who presides over the board of directors. “Improved treatments and PreP [Pre-exposure Prophylaxis] have helped contain the illness but has not eradicated it.”

In remembrance of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the walk is themed after the 1969 hit single Everyday People by Sly and the Family Stone. Everyday People spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the spring of 1969, months before the Stonewall Riots that occurred on June 28th of that year. Through this theme, AIDS Walk OKC honors those who started the push for LGBTQ+ equality and the ongoing efforts to reduce stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.

Since 1998, AIDS Walk OKC has encouraged visibility, education, and the reduction in stigma regarding the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Last year, funds from the AIDS Walk were dispersed to six local organizations working to impact the lives of Oklahomans living with HIV directly. The community’s continued support and participation have been vital to the continued mission of AIDS Walk OKC.

“Funding from other sources is earmarked each year according to the grant for specific purposes,” Meadows said. “The money we award these organizations help fund things larger grants wouldn’t. Since its inception, the AIDS Walk OKC has awarded over $685,000 to related organizations.”

The 2019 Walk will begin and end at the OKC Farmers Market (311 S. Klein Ave, 73108) at 2 p.m. Registration and a family-friendly festival featuring local entertainment and vendors will begin at noon.

“All members of the community are encouraged to participate by creating ‘walk teams’ or individually raising funds via our website at www.aidswalkokc.org,” Meadows added. “We will host an awards recognition at the event for Top Team Fundraiser, Top Individual Fundraiser, Top Online Fundraiser and Largest Walk Team.

Any individual participant that raises $50 or more will receive a free 2019 AIDS Walk shirt. Visit www.aidswalkokc.org for more information.

Copyright The Gayly. 8/31/2019 @ 12:03 a.m. CST.