First up was the 24th annual AIDS Walk Washington. This 5K walk/timed run is a fundraiser hosted by and benefiting the Whitman-Walker Clinic. BPHSN President, Chinenye Anyanwu (or as we like to call her, ChiChi) walked for her second time this past Saturday. Despite the early wake-up call and long walk from the metro to Freedom Plaza where the walk began, ChiChi thoroughly enjoyed the event. Most notable to her was the solidarity among everyone who came to participate. "We saw past GW students...entire families came out, some people were wearing t-shirts in memory of loved ones...everyone came together to walk for a good cause," ChiChi commented. And, although the walk was long, there was plenty of laughter to keep people energized. When she reached the quilt at the end of the walk, ChiChi took a moment to inspect some of the patches. "Some were really detailed, others just had encouraging messages..." Although HIV/AIDS affects our community most detrimentally, to her, participating in the walk did not make for a depressing day. "It was fun," she said, and like the impact of HIV/AIDS in families across the world "there were happy moments and sad moments."
First-time AIDS Walk Washington participant, and BPHSN Logistics chair, Tinika McIntosh, had a personal attachment to the cause. In addition to supporting BPHSN, Tinika said, "I was walking for people who can't walk today." She has lost a number of family and friends to causes related to AIDS. Tinika was delighted to see that everyone had so much enthusiasm for the day's causes. "What stood out to me was how much people supported both events," she said. "Everyone was really spirited, and people went straight from the walk to the One Nation Rally."
The One Nation Rally was attended by over 175,000 people. Liberals- gay rights groups, labor unions, and faith-based organizations came out in droves- showed up in response to the rising poll numbers for conservatives in the mid-term elections. According to an article in PekingTimes.com, the purpose of the rally was to "re-energize [Democrats'] political base." There was a controversial issue being addressed, and as ChiChi pointed out, "some people definitely didn't like what we had to say." BPHSN members stood just outside of the rally, holding up their picket signs. They addressed causes such as 'End racist unemployment NOW' and 'BPHSN says Job Loss = Bad Health'.
Overall, both Tinika and ChiChi were glad to spend their Saturday with "people who were like-minded" and attached to similar causes. Legs tired and spirits high, it's back to the library we go.
|Tinika McIntosh posing with her One Nation rally sign|
Check out more pictures from the rally and AIDS Walk on our FB page