AIDS Walk Portland: Why I Walk

An Open Letter from Tyler TerMeer, Executive Director of Cascade AIDS Project

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Dear Friends & Allies of the LGBTQ+ and HIV-positive Community here in Portland, 

AIDS Walk Portland is under one month away! On September 8th, we will gather with thousands of our friends and allies in the fight against HIV. Some of us will walk the 2.4 miles, some will come to volunteer or cheer on the Walkers, other folks will walk in spirit, unable to make the trip themselves, but sending their love and support with the Walkers as they march.

There are many layers to my relationship with AIDS Walk. As the Executive Director of Cascade AIDS Project I know just how crucial the funds we raise are. Each year, thanks to the generosity of the Walkers and their donors we are able to fill gaps in prevention and support programs for those living with or affected by HIV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an activist, I see the power in thousands of people coming together for this cause. AIDS Walk was formed 32 years ago as a way to amplify our message in a time when our government would not listen, and unfortunately despite how far we've come, that need is still strong today. The President's Council on HIV & AIDS is disbanded, there have been rumors of cuts to Ryan White funding, and those living with HIV are experiencing discrimination and uncertainty about their healthcare coverage.

As a person living with HIV, this Walk is personal. In the 15 years that I have been living with this disease I have lost too many friends and loved ones. I have watched our brightest and most beautiful souls fade away long before their time. I walk for them. To honor those I've lost the best way I know how, by standing up and fighting back. Each step I take at the Walk will be a re-commitment to this work. HIV/AIDS was allowed to flourish due to bigotry and fear, we are still fighting those sentiments today. This is why we must join together to make our collective voices heard.

If you are not already registered for the Walk, please do so hereWe want as many people as possible to join us, and are offering you the free registration code: EndStigma. If you will not be in Portland on the 8th and still want to participate, please register as well. We have many friends who are currently raising funds and will be 'walking' with us on the 8th from all over the country. Finally, if you can't walk but want to support our fight, please consider making a general donation to AIDS Walk. Whatever you can give, let your contribution be your step forward in the fight against HIV. All funds raised will support the work of Cascade AIDS Project and our partner organizations.

Thank you to those who have already registered to Walk or have donated to the cause. I am profoundly grateful for your support, together our voices will be heard, and together we can end this disease and achieve our dream of an HIV free generation. 

 

Yours in solidarity,

Tyler TerMeer

Executive Director