Fenway Health announced that its annual fundraiser, AIDS Walk Boston, has been renamed Strides for Action, reflecting a broadened focus that recognizes and supports the significant unmet needs of the LGBTQIA+ community. Strides for Action will continue to support people living with HIV/AIDS and HIV prevention and research, and will also support gender-affirming care, mental and behavioral health services, teens and young adults experiencing homelessness, and aging LGBTQIA+ adults.
Started in 1986, the event has drawn thousands of participants over the last 37 years who walk to remember those lost to HIV/AIDS and support those living with the disease. While there is still no cure, tremendous strides have been made in the treatment and prevention of HIV, due in part to funds raised via events like the AIDS Walk.
At the same time, the demand for programs and services addressing the broader needs of the LGBTQIA+ community —including disparities that affect BIPOC communities —continues to increase, as does the need for additional funding.
“We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and generous support that has come from literally thousands of walkers and community partners over nearly four decades,” said Fenway Health CEO Ellen LaPointe. “The money raised at Strides for Action will allow us to positively impact the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS and LGBTQIA+ people in our communities right here in Massachusetts who rely on Fenway Health’s care and services. It will also support critical research and advocacy to fight rising hatred and legislative assaults on LGBTQIA+ people which threatens the health and wellbeing of millions throughout the United States. We know that stigma and discrimination are taking a toll on our community, and so it feels right to broaden the Walk’s focus in this way.”
At least 45 states currently have at least one anti-LGBTQIA+ bill on their legislative agenda. Human Rights Campaign reports that 150 of those are anti-trans bills seeking to criminalize access to gender affirming care and/or participation in school sports or restrict the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Strides for Action will take place at 8 AM on Sunday, October 1 at Carson Beach, Boston, MA. Participants can register to walk or fundraise for the event at stridesforaction.org. The walk is being held one week after this year’s Harbor to the Bay Ride, a one-day bike ride from Boston to Provincetown that supports local HIV/AIDS organizations, including Fenway Health.
This year, Fenway Health has set a Strides for Action fundraising goal of $700,000 to support lifesaving care and services for the community. Presenting sponsors include Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH), Moderna, and Point32 Health.
“At BILH, health equity is woven into every aspect of what we do and how we deliver care—it’s in our DNA,” said Juan Fernando Lopera, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Beth Israel Lahey Health. “We are taking concrete steps to address health justice for all and dismantle barriers to equitable health outcomes across our diverse patient population. We have a strong connection to Fenway Health as one of our affiliated community health centers and a deep commitment to supporting care for the LGBTQIA+ community across our healthcare system. I am proud to serve as a co-chair for the Strides for Action Executive Committee to continue the work to support HIV/AIDS patients and eradicate HIV through research and innovation.”
For more information about Strides for Action, visit stridesforaction.org.
To become a corporate sponsor and celebrate a commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusion, please contact Jonathan Potvin, Manager of Corporate Sponsorship, at 857.313.6733 or [email protected].