PHOTOS: AIDS Walk South Dallas draws more than 200


The reorganized AIDS Walk South Dallas attracted 201 walkers on Saturday. The event attracted 17 sponsors and 24 vendors that distributed information about services available around the community. HIV testing was available at the staging grounds at St. Philips School.

“With its new sponsor C.U.R.E., AIDS Walk South Dallas was a great success,” event Chair Auntjuan Wiley said.

He estimated the walk raised $10,000 and said final figures would be available within 30 days. Donations to the walk may still be made by sending a check to C.U.R.E., 3941 Legacy Dr. #204, PMB 199A, Plano, TX 755023.

Before the walk, Zach Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, and Otis Harris, Deciding Moments national campaign spokesman, spoke.

Thompson talked about getting churches and schoosl in black areas to talk about HIV and prevention. He quoted stats including Dallas County’s ranking as having the highest HIV transmission rate.

Beneficiaries of the walk are AIDS Interfaith Network and Kidscapes Foundation.

Organizing for next year’s walk begins in June. Wiley said next year, he’d like to see more pre-walk events. An opening party the night before the walk at House of Blues raised $500.

More photos below.

—  David Taffet

GLBT Chamber hosts Business Expo, a chance to “get away from the elections”

The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce expects this evening’s Business Expo at the Melrose to be its largest.

“It’s an opportunity for the community to meet GLBT chamber members and allies,” Chamber President and CEO Tony Vedda said.

He said this year’s event will feature more exhibitors than ever and has expanded beyond just the ballroom into the Oak Lawn Room as well.

A broad spectrum of businesses and organizations will be represented. Community groups like AIDS Arms and C.U.R.E. will have tables. Southwest Airlines and major banks as well as professional services such as attorneys and therapists will be represented.

The event began as a mixer for Chamber members but has grown to an events attended by hundreds, Vedda said.

“Following the election, a large number of people in the community should be in a good mood,” he said. “Thankfully we can get away from the elections now.”

He invited people to come for a cocktail and meet and mingle with some local LGBT businesspeople. Valet parking and the event are free.

Melrose Hotel. Nov. 7. 4:30–7 p.m. Free.

—  David Taffet

AIDS Walk South Dallas plans kickoff party

2012 South Dallas AIDS Walk

AIDS Walk South Dallas holds its kickoff party on Friday, Oct. 12, in the Foundation Room at House of Blues, Community Unity Respect Education, Inc. co-founder Roseann Rosetti said.

This will be the first opportunity for walkers to register. Sponsors and vendors may also sign up, and the group is looking for volunteers.

The walk has been reorganized with C.U.R.E., a Plano-based AIDS organization, as the event organizer. Auntjuan Wiley continues as the event coordinator.

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.

— David Taffet

—  David Taffet

Former executive director of S. Dallas AIDS Walk plans new event next year

Auntjuan Wiley

Auntjuan Wiley says he’s reorganizing and rebranding the South Dallas AIDS Walk and has set March 23, 2013, as the date for the new event.

Wiley was executive director of the original South Dallas AIDS Walk, which was associated with the Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation. But the Chisom Foundation lost its nonprofit status prior to this year’s walk, founder Anthony Chisom has not released a financial accounting of the March event, and beneficiaries haven’t received their checks. Wiley resigned from his position when Chisom stopped returning his calls. Chisom also hasn’t returned phone calls from Dallas Voice.

This week, Wiley registered two names — South Dallas AIDS Walk and AIDS Walk South Dallas. The first name he said he registered so that Chisom won’t be able to use it. The second is the one he will use for the new event.

The lead organization for the new South Dallas AIDS Walk is C.U.R.E., a Collin County-based AIDS organization that does mostly education work.

“Their nonprofit status is current,” Wiley said smiling, waving a copy of the form.

Roseann Rosetti of C.U.R.E. said her group would be the nonprofit presenting partner and funds from the walk would go to fund HIV/AIDS work in South Dallas. She said C.U.R.E. will not be a beneficiary.

“Rosemarie Odom and I are proud to have been asked to be part of the AIDS Walk,” Rosetti said.

Wiley said he already has at least two sponsors — Walgreens and Avita — and is working to secure others. He said over the next few weeks he plans to contact the South Dallas Cultural Center about using their facilities and will work with C.U.R.E. to put together a steering committee.

—  David Taffet

“It’ll be a gay old weekend” in North Texas

Last year, the inaugural North Texas “Come As You Are” Pride Party had 60 inquiries, but ended up with more than 220 guests. “It was a heartfelt success,” said Morris Garcia, who organized the event along with partner Tim Phillips. This year, the party has 189 confirmed guests on Facebook, and Garcia is hoping the number of attendees will again be double that number.

The family-oriented event was created to help bring unity, awareness and education to a seemingly conservative community. The Pride Party was created by Garcia, current board member and former Collin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance president, and Phillips. Last year’s inaugural Come as You Are Pride Party exceeded expectations. Garcia said he and Phillips had been sitting on the idea for a Pride Party for five years when they finally decided to put one on.

Morris Garcia

This year’s North Texas “Come as You Are” Pride party is slated for Saturday, June 23 at Tierney’s Café and Tavern in Old Town Lewisville from 6-11 p.m. There will be drink specials, face painting, door prizes and vendor booths, as well as dancing to the music styling of The Ducado Vega Band (6-8 p.m.) and ending the night with DJ Fierce.

Raffles for specialty items from TapeLenders, a $175 spa gift certificate, Mocha Bakery gift certificates, along with kid-friendly items such as iTunes and McDonald’s gift cards, are up for grabs. Tickets may by purchased for $10 online at or $15 at the door, cash only.

Garcia is again spearheading the planning along with a slew of volunteers and a committee made up of Matthew Bado, Gene Goodwin, J.J. McCormick, Belinda Carmickle and  Rosemarie Odom. Odom is co-founder of Community, Unity, Respect and Education, or C.U.R.E.

Garcia said the proceeds to the “Come as You Are” pride party will benefit Health Services of North Texas and C.U.R.E., as well as help with the growth and planning of next year’s Pride Party.

—  admin

World AIDS Day event planned in Plano

Roseann Rosetti opening a Quilt panel

In addition to co-sponsoring the World AIDS Day event at the new Main Street Garden in Dallas, C.U.R.E. will host a commemoration in Plano.

Billed as a ceremony of healing and hope, the Plano gathering will remember people lost to AIDS. Panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display. It takes place at Community Unitarian Universalist Church at 2875 East Parker Road. Plano-based Health Services of North Texas is also sponsoring.

“Our ceremony will include the dedication of new panels created by family and friends of a loved one lost to AIDS,” said C.U.R.E. co-founder Roseann Rosetti. “The new panels will be presented to The Names Project Foundation to be included as part of the nationally acclaimed AIDS Memorial Quilt.”

Anyone with a new panel to present may attend the ceremony.

“If you would like to present a panel in honor of someone you know and love, C.U.R.E. will be honored have you dedicate and present your panel at our World AIDS Day ceremony,” Rosetti said.

The panels will be sent to the Names Project’s home in Atlanta to be sewn into blocks for exhibit.

—  David Taffet

AIDS Quilt display postponed

Planners optimistic that funding can be secured for a 2012 Dallas exhibition

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

The display of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt at Dallas Convention Center planned for September has been postponed at least until next year, organizers announced earlier this month.

Rosemarie Odom, president of C.U.R.E., announced on World AIDS Day last year that the largest display of the quilt in 15 years would come to Dallas this year. She said that Pepsico had signed to sponsor the event and that Tyler Sweatman had been hired as event director.

But the event had to be postponed when Pepsi “pulled out at the 11th hour,” Sweatman said this week.

C.U.R.E. planned to exhibit at least 500 quilt panels, which would have been the largest public display since the entire quilt was shown on the Mall in Washington, D.C., in 1996.

The event was scheduled for the first weekend in October, the same weekend as LifeWalk and the week after the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. Planners had hoped participants in both events would spend time with the quilt to bring more awareness to the issue of HIV and AIDS, Sweatman said.

Odom said that even if a replacement sponsor signed on today, she’d still postpone until next year.

“If we got the money in today, we could have the exhibit in September,” she said. “But now we don’t have time to get people in.”
She said that C.U.R.E. is regrouping and restrategizing and looking to next year.

No dates have been discussed for next year. However, specific panels would be requested for the exhibit so planners need to coordinate around availability. Many groups around the country request blocks especially on World AIDS Day, so the Dallas event would likely not happen then.

Plano-based C.U.R.E. uses panels from the quilt to promote AIDS education. Last year they hung 13 of them in a downtown Plano storefront and also displayed them at several corporate headquarters in Plano.

Sweatman has watched the Quilt grow from its inception. He was living in San Francisco in 1987 when Cleve Jones and friends began sewing panels together to memorialize friends who had died of AIDS.

Each panel is three feet by six feet, the size of a coffin, and panels are stitched together into 12 square foot blocks. More than 40,000 panels have been created and includes the names of 91,000 people who have died of AIDS, making the quilt the largest piece of folk art ever created.

Odom said that C.U.R.E. may still do a small quilt display around World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. And she’s optimistic that the ambitious plan for the largest exhibit since 1996 will still take place in Dallas.

—  John Wright

AIDS at 30: Quilt coming to Dallas

The largest display of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in 15 years will be at the Dallas Convention Center on Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

The Collin County-based AIDS organization C.U.R.E. that promotes education and prevention is behind the effort to bring more than 1,000 panels of the quilt to Dallas.

Event Director Tyler Sweatman said, “Fundraising is always a big challenge.”

The last time the entire quilt was displayed was in 1996 when the 47,000 panels were laid out on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

C.U.R.E. brought 225 panels of the Quilt to Dallas that were displayed in Lee Park as part of the Lone Star Ride in 2005. Each year on World AIDS Day the group hangs panels in a downtown Plano location and in several corporate headquarters in Collin County.

Sweatman said the speaker for the first night of the quilt presentation is Brryan Jackson, who is 19. His father, a hospital worker who didn’t want to pay child support, injected him with the HIV virus when he was 11 months old. He became deaf at the age of seven.

The goal of the quilt display, Sweatman said, was to “raise awareness and educate because here we are … 30 years later.”

— David Taffet

—  John Wright

‘$30 for 30 years’ to help bring Quilt to Dallas

Tyler Sweatman and Rosemarie Odom at a 2010 Quilt display in Plano.

C.U.R.E. is bringing panels from the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt to the Dallas Convention Center from Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in commemoration of 30 years of AIDS.

The display will be the largest exhibit of panels since the entire quilt was laid out on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 1996. Event coordinator Tyler Sweatman said he expects 8,000 panels to be shown in Dallas.

To sponsor a panel, C.U.R.E. started an adopt-a-panel campaign called “$30 for 30 years.” Click on the link to make a donation.

The Collin County-based group was founded by Rosemarie Odom and Roseann Rossetti in 2001 when they volunteered for a World AIDS Day Quilt display in Plano. The group’s goal is for people to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS; to focus on HIV/AIDS education and outreach to the youth, women and community members of diverse ethnic background; and to present a public means of remembrance and healing.

—  David Taffet

HIV testing and wine tasting in Plano

wineCommunity Unity Respect Education Inc. celebrates its first birthday this week with two events, a wine tasting and HIV testing in Plano.

In coordination with the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Collin College, C.U.R.E. is sponsoring a free HIV testing today, June 22. Collin College is also known as the Spring Creek Campus of Collin County Community College land and is at 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano.

Testing hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the college’s Conference Center.

National HIV Testing Day is June 29 and area agencies are offering free HIV testing at various times and locations until then.

On Saturday, June 26, C.U.R.E. hosts a wine tasting at Vinter’s Cellar, 4025 Preston Road in Lakeside Market in Plano from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

—  David Taffet