More than 200 people walked the 5K-route in South Dallas to raise money for AIDS Interfaith Network on Saturday. Auntjuan Wiley, the founder of AIDS Walk South Dallas, said that as of Friday, the group had raised more than $20,000. Money raised Saturday hadn’t been counted.
Dallas police officers blocked the intersections, keeping the walkers moving along the route, and people stepped out on their porches to watch the procession. At one point on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the walkers met up with a parade celebrating James Madison High School’s back-to-back state championships. The groups cheered each other, giving the bystanders a two-for-one show.
Walgreens, which has sponsored the walk for each of its four years, had several people in the walk along with representatives from other businesses and organizations.
“I’m really pleased to see how far this walk has come in four years,” said Walgreens Community Leader James Ross. “We’ve been with the walk since day one, and we’re very supportive of what is being done here.”
Walk director Auntjuan Wiley, left, presents check to AIDS Interfaith Network Director Steven Pace.
AIDS Walk South Dallas distributed $4,000 to its beneficiaries last week.
Kidscapes Foundation and AIDS Interfaith Network each received a check for $2,000. In addition to distributing funds and paying all expenses, walk director Auntjuan Wiley said his organization raised enough to retain seed money for next year’s event.
More than 200 people registered for the walk that took place on March 16 and 512 people attended the event at St. Philip’s School on Pennsylvania Avenue.
HIV and syphilis testing was done before and after the event. Of the 27 people tested, one person tested positive for HIV and got into treatment and another person got back into treatment.
Wiley said plans are already underway for next year. St. Philip’s School will host the event again. The area is one of the hardest hit in Dallas for new HIV infections.
AIDS Walk South Dallas is trying to bounce back from a scandal that tarnished the event last year. The Anthony Chisom Foundation, which organized the 2012 walk, had its nonprofit status revoked and failed to release an accounting from the event or provide funds to beneficiaries.
This year, C.U.R.E. will not benefit from money collected but will grant money to AIDS organizations working in South Dallas after the walk.
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be available at the House of Blues kickoff party. A $20 donation automatically enters participants into a drawing for three hours of general housecleaning courtesy of Quantas Commercial Services.
AIDS Walk South Dallas takes place March 16 from St. Philip’s School and Community Center, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in South Dallas near Fair Park.
Kick off Party: House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., Oct. 12. 5-8 p.m.
UPDATE: Wiley sent the following message on Oct. 19:
Due to the overwhelming response, capacity and Texas/OU Weekend, the House of Blues has requested that we reschedule the AIDS Walk South Dallas launch party. The rescheduled date will be confirmed today but it looks like it will be next Friday, Oct. 19. They are also requesting that we come up with a RSVP process to guarantee adequate space. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.