28th annual AIDS Walk L.A. raises $2.9 million
About 30,000 people marched through the streets of West Hollywood and Los Angeles on Sunday in the 28th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles, raising $2.9 million for AIDS education and prevention programs.
The event attracted dozens of celebrities, AIDS activists and elected officials, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem Abbe Land, who addressed the current HIV/AIDS crisis and response in L.A. County.
Other participants included television personalities Drew Carey and Daisy Fuentes.
The walk kicked off around 10 a.m., beginning and ending at West Hollywood Park.
“The 30,000 participants who took to the streets today can take pride in the incredible $2,912,209 raised to fight AIDS and lift up the lives those affected by HIV,” Craig R. Miller, founder and producer of the event, said in a statement.
“Thanks to the thousands of dedicated people who walk and fundraise each year, we have made tremendous progress and we are facing a better day in the fight against AIDS,” he said. “But we have to remain strong in our response. We have to remain vigilant. And most of all we have to remain visible.”
The funds benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles and 29 other local AIDS service organizations that care for thousands of people living with HIV and provide education and prevention programs.
Miller said the event's visibility was compromised this year after the city of Santa Monica adopted a policy prohibiting the group’s ads and similar messages on its Big Blue Bus system, a move apparently intended to keep the bus system from turning into a “public forum” in which officials feared they would lose control of content. The system had run the AIDS Walk ads for several years.
For the record, Oct. 15, 8:32 a.m.: A previous version of this post said Abbe Land is the mayor of West Hollywood. She is the mayor pro tem. Jeff Prang is the mayor.
-- Carla Rivera
Photo: Aids Walk volunteers, right, follow along with Zumba dancers on Beverly Boulevard during the 28th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles. Credit: Christina House / For The Times