Metro Weekly

Whitman-Walker celebrates 40 years of service to DC’s LGBTQ community

The 40th Anniversary Gala is Saturday, Sept. 22

Jim Graham (second from left) at a Whitman-Walker gala in 1996 — Photo courtesy of WWH

“Our community really counts on us,” says Jewel Addy, external affairs manager at Whitman-Walker Health. “Everyone who walks through our doors is treated with dignity, respect and love. I’ve had the pleasure and opportunity to hear stories from clients about how Whitman-Walker has impacted their lives.”

For forty years, Whitman-Walker has served members of D.C.’s LGBTQ community and people living with HIV, providing high-quality health care including regular checkups, HIV and STD testing and treatment, addiction services, and mental health counseling.

To commemorate those achievements, Whitman-Walker will hold its 40th anniversary gala at the Marriott Marquis Washington on Saturday, Sept. 22.

The evening’s program, emceed by Rayceen Pendarvis, NBC4 news host Chuck Bell, and local actress and four-time Helen Hayes Award winner Holly Twyford, will begin with a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a seated dinner and speaking program, a silent auction, and a dance party featuring music from DJ Paddy Boom, formerly of the Scissor Sisters.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s GenOUT Chorus and the legendary Washington trio Betty, who were behind the theme song for The L Word, are also slated to perform.

Ahead of the gala, Whitman-Walker has launched a “40 Stories” Project, featuring interviews and biographies of people who were instrumental to its history, including former Whitman-Walker Executive Director and D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham, national newscaster Max Robinson, and Dr. Mary Edwards “Walker,” one of the clinic’s namesakes.

The project includes interviews and testimonials from current employees and clients, who talk about the services they’ve received or their work at Whitman-Walker.

“We offer so many different programs and services that it’s often hard to capture what we do in a single tweet or word,” says Addy. “So it’s nice to have these different voices share their individual experiences with us.”

While Whitman-Walker holds other fundraising events throughout the year, including the upcoming annual Walk & 5K to End HIV on Saturday, Oct. 27, the gala serves as yet another vital source for the organization, as demand for services only continues to grow.

“The amount of lives we’ve saved and the amount of stigma we’ve helped combat is immeasurable,” says Addy. “When people give money to support Whitman-Walker and our patients’ health and wellbeing, it really does help people thrive.”

Whitman-Walker Health’s 40th Anniversary Gala is on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis Washington, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Tickets are $400 per person. To purchase tickets, visit wwhgala.org. For more information on Whitman-Walker’s “40 Stories” Project, visit whitman-walker.org/40-stories.

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