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AIDS Walk L.A. raises $2 million at new venue

LOS ANGELES — More than 10,000 people participated in the 32nd annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles Oct. 23, the first to be held in downtown Los Angeles, raising more than  $2 million for APLA Health and other Los Angeles County HIV service organizations, organizers said.

The 10-kilometer walk began and ended in Grand Park. It was moved from West Hollywood because of the park’s “versatility, size, and easy accessibility by public transit,” said Craig R. Miller, the event’s founder and senior organizer.

“The crowd loved the new location, and we loved the crowd,” Miller said. “The participants were clearly energized by the versatile new venue and all we were able to do with it.”

The new location “will better position the event for communities that have often felt disenfranchised, underserved and on the periphery,” said Craig E. Thompson, chief executive officer of APLA and APLA Health & Wellness.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed participants before the walk, telling them, “We believe that an AIDS-free generation is within our reach.”

The opening ceremony also included musical performances by the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Estelle and India Carney, the fifth-place finisher in the 2015 spring season of the NBC singing competition “The Voice.”

The course took walkers through Little Tokyo, the Jewelry District, Fashion District and Pershing Square, passing the Japanese American National Museum, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and The Broad museum.

The proceeds from the walk benefit APLA Health, which provides food, housing support, benefits counseling and more for people living with and affected by AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus which causes AIDS, and primary medical, dental, and mental health care and HIV prevention services focused on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and other underserved communities.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles was the world’s first fundraising walk to benefit organizations dealing with AIDS. The inaugural walk in 1985 began at Paramount Pictures, which continued to host the event until security concerns following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted its move to West Hollywood.

The walk has raised more than $84 million in its 32 years, according to Ben Fordham, the walk’s director of communications.

 

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