Walk With Courage, Walk With Hope: Annual Fight Against AIDS Walk Attracted Many

by   Posted on October 6th, 2009 in Uncategorized

Sebastian Flores, Broadside Correspondent

Six high-strung, middle-aged women from a church group sang their hearts out. Their voices, although individually very different from one another, all blended in a sweet gospel harmony, singing to the souls of all of the walkers around them.

Although they belonged to a particular team, many others joined in their songs and began to clap to their rhythm. Singing, clapping and walking in unison, it was as if they had known each other for years.

In reality, these people were complete strangers to one another, but they were brought together by the support in the fight against AIDS.

Washington, D.C. held its annual AIDS Walk last Saturday, Oct. 3. Hundreds of people crowded the streets of Freedom Plaza, anxiously awaiting the start of the walk. Before the walk, individuals and sponsors of the AIDS Walk spoke to the crowd about the importance of AIDS awareness and prevention, some even sharing their own personal HIV/AIDS story with the audience.

Teams from all over the D.C. Metropolitan area representing their school, organization or company listened to these speeches, and seemed to be even more inspired by their words. As the time inched closer to the start of the walk, the air was filled with excitement from the many participants anxious to begin.

Stephanie Owusu, a sophomore and health systems management major from George Mason University, shared her excitement, “I’m overwhelmed by all the people that are here and I’m happy that everyone is out to support this cause . . . I can’t wait to start walking!”

Many teams arrived at the start of the walk with shirts and jackets stating what group or organization they were a part of. But by the start of the walk, many chose to change their groups’ particular shirts and instead, wore the white t-shirt distributed during the AIDS Walk.

Once the walk began, almost the entire mass of hundreds of people were wearing their white shirts and, feeling a sense of unity with one another, began to yell and chant out of excitement.

Two students from George Washington University joined the crowd’s roar. Elly Cohen, a freshman and journalism major said, “It’s exciting to walk with this many people.”

Cohen’s walking partner Anna Chadha, a freshman and biology major also attending George Washington University, added, “It’s such a good feeling to be a part in something this big; everyone is so energetic.”

The excitement did not end there; at the end of the three-mile walk, people were still chanting and cheering.

Music and live performances extended the festivities after the walk and added to the wonderful unifying feel.

The walk was a success. The monetary and spiritual support shown by the participants of the walk will help the lives of the thousands of people affected by HIV/AIDS because the money raised goes to the Whitman-Walker Clinic, which is specialized in treating HIV/AIDS in D.C.

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