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CHICAGO — “Put your foot down.” That’s the message behind this year’s AIDS Run & Walk Chicago, hosted by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and benefiting 35 other community organizations — known as CommunityDirect partners — on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
“We want supporters to put their foot down and make a difference in this epidemic, especially among communities most impacted by HIV,” said AFC President/CEO John Peller.
“At the biggest annual HIV awareness event in Chicago, we want to make it clear that new HIV infections can be a thing of the past if we put the right resources in the right places — including AFC and our 35 CommunityDirect partners.”
The 35 CommunityDirect partners that will raise funds through this year’s event will receive 90% of all money raised by their teams. Last year, the 32 CommunityDirect teams raised a combined $270,000.
The aim of the event — and the CommunityDirect program — is to support HIV/AIDS programs and services across Chicago, particularly in neighborhoods most affected by the epidemic.
Event registration is $40 in advance for 5k walkers and $50 for 5k or 10k runners. To register as an individual or as a team, or to donate to a CommunityDirect team, visit aidsrunwalk.org or call 312-334-0946. Online registration ends Sunday, Sept. 20.
“There are uncertain times ahead for many human services providers in Illinois,” said Simone Koehlinger, Senior Vice President of Programming. “AIDS Run & Walk Chicago brings funds and awareness to organizations having a significant impact on the HIV community — organizations that are making communities healthier and stronger.”
The CommunityDirect partners serving the South Side are Black Methodists for Church Renewal, COIP/UIC School of Public Health, Greater Full Gospel Pentecostal Church, Men & Women in Prison Ministries, Michael Reese Research & Education Foundation and the University of Chicago (Care2Prevent).
Those serving the North Side are Asian Human Services, Center on Halsted, Chicago House and Social Service Agency, Howard Brown Health Center and Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN).
CommunityDirect partners on the West Side include the Austin CBC Initiative, CALOR, Children’s Place Association, Erie Family Health Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, New Age Services, Project Vida, Puerto Rican Cultural Center (Vida/SIDA) and Taskforce Prevention and Community Services.
Organizations that provide citywide services are the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, Chicago Recovery Alliance, Chicago Women’s AIDS Project, FCAN, Heartland Health Outreach, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH), The Night Ministry, Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative, Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center and Season of Concern.
And finally, AFC is proud to partner with organizations that serve people outside of Chicago: Canticle Ministries, Open Door Clinic and Youth Outlook.
To give both AIDS Run & Walk Chicago participants and HIV advocates a way to express their demand for better support for HIV prevention and services, AFC is leading a social media campaign from now through Saturday, Sept. 26 that invites people to “put their feet down” for the cause. Participants are invited to print a template and write the reason they “put their foot down” to change the epidemic. They can then take a photo of the template with their foot, post to their social media platforms with the hashtag #aidsrunwalkchicago and share it with their communities. More information about the campaign can be found at aidsrunwalk.org.