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30,000 Raise $2.8 Million at AIDS Walk Los Angeles for AIDS Project Los Angeles, 21 Other Groups

By American Chronicle

October 18, 2010

OUTPOURING OF CELEBRITIES AND ELECTED LEADERS BOLSTERS ENORMOUS COMMUNITY-WIDE TURNOUT FOR UNIFYING MEGA-EVENT.

Los Angeles – Thirty-thousand people gathered in West Hollywood Park Sunday for the 26th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles (AWLA). In addition to the massive turnout, the event achieved strong fundraising results. Proceeds benefit programs for people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County, as well as efforts to prevent the further spread of HIV.

Despite the challenging economy, our dedicated walkers took powerful steps to support the most vulnerable among us: people living with HIV/AIDS who also face poverty, hunger, homelessness, and a range of other serious challenges," said Craig R. Miller, founder and producer of the event. "We are deeply grateful to our 30,000 participants for raising $2,878,711 for L.A.County´s fight against AIDS. Our efforts to fundraise for this vital work too often confront complacency among some members of the public who have turned their attention away from the HIV epidemic here in the United States. But today's strong result shows that AIDS Walk Los Angeles holds a special place in people´s hearts. Over 26 years, we have never lost sight of our prime objective: to create an event unparalleled in its ability to inspire tens of thousands to take action. Year after year, AIDS Walk Los Angeles delivers what it promises: an empowering and energizing event that unites the whole community."

Since its inception, AWLA has raised more than $69 million for APLA and a host of other Los Angeles County HIV/AIDS service organizations.

"In the wake of the recent state budget cuts to HIV/AIDS funding made just days ago by Governor Schwarzenegger, the money raised at AIDS Walk Los Angeles is more important than ever as a source of vital support for programs and services that work to save lives, prevent infections, and end AIDS," said Craig E. Thompson, Executive Director of AIDS Project Los Angeles. "Until no one living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles goes hungry; until homophobia and stigma are erased; and until AIDS is over, APLA will continue to fight. While the state´s capacity to battle this epidemic has been severely curtailed, we are proud to have the tens of thousands of AIDS Walk Los Angeles participants as our powerful allies as we achieve these goals."

The AIDS Walk Los Angeles Opening Ceremony featured Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation SKG CEO, APLA Trustee, and AWLA Grand Sponsor, who spoke on behalf of APLA. In addition, United States Representative Henry A. Waxman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman spoke about the current HIV/AIDScrisis in Los Angeles and West Hollywood and about the importance of the community´s response.

Other elected officials in attendance included: United States Representatives Howard Berman, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Diane E. Watson; California State Senator Fran Pavley; California State Assemblymembers Mike Feuer and Anthony Portantino; Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Zev Yaroslavsky; Los Angeles City Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian, Tom LaBonge, Jan Perry; West Hollywood Mayor Pro-Tempore John Duran, Councilmembers Lindsey Horvath, Abbe Land, and Jeffrey Prang; and West Hollywood Sherriff´s Captain Kelley Fraser.

Celebrities and notable figures at today´s event included Michelle Bonilla ("ER"), Megan Boone ("Law & Order: Los Angeles"), Drew Carey ("The Price Is Right"), Rodney Chester ("Noah´s Arc"), Barrett Foa ("NCIS: Los Angeles"), Joshua Gomez ("Chuck"), Bob Harper ("The Biggest Loser"), Sam Jaeger ("Parenthood"), Mike Manning ("The Real World: DC"), Ana Ortiz ("Ugly Betty"), Pauley Perrette ("NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigation Service"), Sara Ramirez ("Grey´s Anatomy"), Kyle Richards ("The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"), Hal Sparks (Actor and Comedian), Jessica Sutta (Pussycat Doll), and Michael Urie ("Ugly Betty"). Musical performances were given by Andrea McArdle ("Annie"), who performed Stephen Sondheim´s "Everybody Says Don´t," and LaKisha Jones ("American Idol"), who closed the Opening Ceremony with her performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein´s "You´ll Never Walk Alone."

The corporate community continued to show its strong support for the event through team fundraising and corporate sponsorship. This year´s Grand Sponsors included Anthem Blue Cross of California, The David Geffen Foundation, Latham & Watkins LLP,

NBC 4 / Telemundo 52, Paramount Pictures, Paul Hastings, Toyota, Vons/Pavilions, and Wells Fargo. Principal Sponsors included Delta Air Lines, Gelson´s, Hilton Worldwide, Macy´s, Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Nordstrom.

For more information, visit aidswalk.net/losangeles. To connect with the online community on Facebook, simply join the "AIDS Walk Los Angeles Facebook Fan Page." To view exclusive video content, visit the AIDS Walk Los Angeles YouTube channel at youtube.com/aidswalkla. To receive instant updates, follow "AIDS Walk Los Angeles" on Twitter.

AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest nonprofit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education, and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation. With more than 25 years of service, APLA is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national, and global reach. For more information, visit apla.org.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles was created in 1985 and has raised more than $69 million for HIV programs and services throughout Los Angeles County. As the world´s first AIDS Walk, the event launched a nationwide movement, and has itself grown into one of the largest AIDS fundraising events in the country. Over the past 25 years, more than a half-million participants, many of whom were members of corporate and community teams, have raised crucial funds for AIDS Project Los Angeles and dozens of other AIDS service organizations. For more information, visit aidswalk.net.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles was founded in 1985 by Craig R. Miller and his organization of activists, MZA Events. Miller is the AIDS Walk originator and has produced hundreds of public service campaigns and fundraising events, generating more than $350 million for major AIDS organizations throughout the country. For more information, please visit mzaevents.com.