By Ashlee Basant ’18 and Rianna Russell ’18
Key Club took part in the AIDS Walk to make it possible for the organization, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), to provide help to over 9,000 people impacted by AIDS in NYC.
AIDS Walk New York has inspired people to walk and donate to raise money to combat HIV and AIDS. The funds raised at the event will sustain the prevention, care and advocacy programs for thousands of people affected by the diseases. It also is sponsored by many organizations like Starbucks, Target, Muscle Milk, etc.
AIDS Walk New York took place on May 21, 2017, when participants joined in on a 10-kilometer walk through Central Park, which took roughly two to three hours to complete.
The Key Club President, Wendy Lliguichuzhca ’18, called this experience tiring, yet eye opening. Not only does this event bring thousands of people together, it also united different high schools.
Students from different Key Clubs in the tri-state area came together at the William Tecumseh Sherman Statue at Grand Army Plaza in order to show their support for the great cause. From there, Midwood Key Club met up with the Key Clubs of Edward R. Murrow High School, Brooklyn Technical High School and Bronx High School of Science.
“Once we began the walk, we were all mingling and talking to our friends. I know that one of our members became friends with many people from Murrow because of this walk,” said Lliguichuzcha, “It’s so great to see how this one event could bring so many people together.”
Despite the burning heat, according to Lliguichuzcha, the atmosphere of the walk was extremely welcoming.
“At one point, all of the Key Club members sang the Key Club rap with the president of Madison Key Club,” said Lliguichuzcha.
At the opening ceremony, celebrities and AIDS activists addressed the crowd with messages of congratulations and encouragement. The crowd also enjoyed musical performances from Estelle, Frenchie Davis, etc. People who are diagnosed with AIDS/HIV joined in on the conversation and talked about their personal experience with the disease.
Many key club members found the opening ceremony informational. Speakers talked about the dangers of these diseases and the importance of the walk. They also talked about some of the biggest misconceptions involved with HIV and AIDS. One of these misconceptions was you can acquire the disease through hugging, kissing or even shaking hands.
Although the Key Club doesn’t raise funds for the walk itself, the members tried their best to complete the walk and found it rewarding.
“Though the walk involved a lot of uphills and there was a moment where I thought there was no end, I knew that I was walking for a purpose,” said Alice Mo ’18, “I attended this event and I was able to be apart of something greater than myself, as well as bonded with the amazing officers.”
When the walkers crossed the finish line, they received a paper that stated they had completed the walk. They were also immersed in excitement and greeted with cheerful smiles because they had accomplished something great.
Josephine Wu ’18 said she was glad to partake in this event and support the fight against AIDS and HIV.
“To know that as a club, we can walk in events such as the AIDS Walk and possibly inspire someone else to support this cause will always be something amazing to me,” said Lliguichuzhca.