The rain sent walkers and exhibitors inside, but AIDS Walk South Dallas stepped off as planned at 10 a.m. today (Saturday, March 21).

Organizer Auntjuan Wiley said 300 walkers were registered, exceeding last year’s total. and before the walk began, he announced they had passed this year’s goal of raising $30,000 for AIDS Interfaith Network and Black Transmen.

Wiley credited new and returning sponsors for the event’s success as well as partnerships with new community organizations including Abounding Prosperity, Dallas Southern Pride and Planned Parenthood.

Before the walk, Dallas County Health Director Zach Thompson told participants they weren’t walking in memory of those who died but to remember the suffering that some people with AIDS still endure.

“People can find a place to live because of the stigma,” Thompson said. “People can’t get a job because of the stigma.”

He also noted that AIDS remained a top health priority in Dallas County, which again had the highest rate of HIV-infection in the state. He reminded people that although Ebola was in the headlines, “We unfortunately lost one individual to Ebola. We’ve lost thousands of people to AIDS.”

Thompson presented the walk with a Resolution from Dallas County Commissioners Court that was written by Commissioner John Wiley Price.