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This weekend, Washingtonians will walk to fight HIV/AIDS. And then they’ll march for justice.
“It’s not all about us,” says Donna Payne of HRC. “It’s about how we support everyone in finding equal justice and opportunity – for all of us.”
The Whitman-Walker Clinic, which organizes AIDS Walk, its largest annual fundraiser, has endorsed the One Nation March by expressing support for the event.
Clinic CEO Don Blanchon says that in many ways the One Nation March complements, rather than competes with, AIDS Walk.
“Sometimes in life you have those moments where really important community events align, and this is one of those moments,” Blanchon says.
“These are groups that we’ve had a long history of working side by side with,” Blanchon says, “and we actually felt really strongly that while [the march is] a nonpartisan, apolitical event, the values are really progressive and they’re quite frankly about making communities stronger.”
According to Payne, HRC’s collaboration with the One Nation March stems from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) July conference in Kansas City, Mo.
“That’s where [NAACP President] Ben Jealous made the statement that they were going to do a march. I talked to him and he said he wanted HRC to be involved with it,” she says. “Soon after that, they held their first meeting and we were at the table. Ben and the rest of the leaders in the civil-rights community wanted to bring in all of the LGBT organizations.”
With so much happening Saturday germane to the LGBT community, those planning on attending both the AIDS Walk and the One Nation March might be confused about where and when to meet.
For AIDS Walk, participants gather at Freedom Plaza at 8:30 a.m. The walk begins at approximately 9:30 a.m., with participants returning to Freedom Plaza around 11 a.m.
Several representatives from the LGBT contingent of the One Nation March will meet at HRC headquarters, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, at 10 a.m. That group will walk to Freedom Plaza to participate in AIDS Walk’s closing ceremony.
Following that closing ceremony, One Nation March events begin at the Lincoln Memorial at noon.
Blanchon adds that AIDS Walk will probably not leave anyone so winded as to make the march too burdensome.
“AIDS Walk is a 5k walk. Unless you decide to sprint the event, you won’t be exhausted.”
AIDS Walk events begin at 8:15 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 2, at Freedom Plaza. Walk registration is $25; timed-run registration is $35. For more information, to register, or to become a community partner, call 202-332-WALK or visit aidswalkwashington.org. Join the “LGBTQ Table” of the One Nation March at 10 a.m., at 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. For details visit onenationworkingtogether.org.