Monarch Pride members help raise awareness to Valley College.
By Jairo Alvarado, Staff Writer
Los Angeles is the birthplace of the AIDS Walk, dating back to 1985.
In its 32 years of existence, the event has raised over $82 million for research and treatment of HIV and AIDS.
“Saving lives comes from awareness,” said Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles. “Get tested, get care, and we can save lives.”
Our very own Gay Straight Alliance Club at Valley College attended the event over the weekend, alongside eight of its members and Club President Moira
McFadden, leading the group in the 10K walk across downtown from start to finish.
McFadden said, “We did this to take pride in everyone, not just queers, but for everyone who is affected by AIDS.”
This year the event moved from West Hollywood to Downtown L.A. to allow a larger crowd. The relocation opened it up to more people whether they were gay, straight or transgender.
This year’s walk may have been the second or third time for some volunteers, but for a few first-timers, it was an opportunity to participate with some of their fellow club members that have done it before.
Sierra “Baby” Pond, member of Valley’s GSA Club and a newcomer to the walk, commented, “It was a really good experience. It was so awesome to see a bunch of different people from different walks of life to come together to support a common cause.”
It may have been difficult to escape the stigma of being gay in the early 80’s when the AIDS epidemic hit the nation, but the narrative has shifted as the world discovered the impact of AIDS on the straight community.
Mayor Garcetti closed out his opening speech saying,” Look at this sea of love. When they send a tweet, we hit the streets, and that’s what we’re gonna do to make sure we have a City of Love.”
Los Angeles will always be an essential chapter in AIDS history by starting the pivotal movement that has saved so many lives and brought attention to a devastating disease.
Valley and its GSA Club will continue to play its role in giving a voice to the community.