Walk! Chant! Dance! Worship two of the community’s biggest icons!
The 2022 Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival is back and looks to be a return to the atmosphere of past major events.
“It’s a party with a purpose,” Imara Canady, AIDS Healthcare Foundation's (AHF) National Director, Communications & Community Engagement, said. “It’s a great afternoon, there’s going to be a lot of fun this year.”
The event is Saturday, March 19, at South Beach Park along Fort Lauderdale Beach. Check-in starts at 8 a.m., with the 5k walk stepping off at 10 a.m. This is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for AHF, which is the world’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the world.
“It directly impacts the lives of thousands of individuals across Broward.”
This year’s goal is $1.5 million, and they appear poised to exceed it. With about one week until the event, nearly $1.4 million has already been raised.
Money raised is distributed to AHF’s affiliates, organizations that help further the goal of HIV prevention and care. Their newest South Florida affiliate is Broward House, which always has a team showing up for the walk.
“People are really excited about the team. We have so many good memories of the AIDS Walk. AHF is generous in matching the benefitting agencies,” Stacy Hyde, Broward House’s CEO, said.
She said clients love being part of their AIDS Walk team not only because they are involved in the community, but because they feel seen.
“We always take our residents for a walk. I remember driving back and one of the clients said, ‘I can’t believe that many people care about me who don’t know me.’”
Part of their mission is delivering dignity, and the event helps do that.
“With all the stigma that still surrounds HIV 30-some years later, people showing up on the beach that day says to people that people care about them.”
Headline Grabbing Headliners
Once the walk is finished, teams will return to a party and concert they’ll be talking about for years.
“We’re dual headlining,” Canady said. “First is South Florida’s own Deborah Cox. Then most recently we added Jessie J to the headline. It’s gonna be a good time on the beach that Saturday.”
Both ladies have a lot of fans in South Florida’s LGBT community, and they’re fans of South Florida.
“These artists are already so connected to this work. They’re gonna bring it. They’ve been very engaged with a lot of excitement.”
Music will start at 11:30 a.m. with DJ Alex Ferbeyre spinning as walkers return and rehydrate. Deborah Cox and Jessie J will take the stage a little later. The entire event is expected to wrap up around 1 p.m.
You can register to walk on-site the morning of the event or just come and enjoy the concert.
Organizers have lists of things to bring and things to leave at home.
Bring sunblock, sunglasses, ID, comfortable shoes, a fully charged phone &/or camera, and a credit card for food and drinks.
Do not bring weapons, drones, glass, your own alcohol, pets, wagons, coolers, beach umbrellas, picnic baskets.
Due to the size of the event and its coinciding with spring break vacations, parking is expected to be very limited. Attendees are encouraged to carpool, rideshare, or use water taxis.
For more details and information on joining the walk, go to FloridaAIDSWalk.org.