AIDSWALK Makes First Visit to Downtown

October 2, 2012

The 24th Annual AIDSWALK Tucson is staking out new ground: Downtown.

“This is the first time we’ve ever been Downtown,” said Monique Vallery, spokeswoman for the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, which stages the yearly AIDSWALK. “We wanted to show our support for the Downtown community.”

The AIDSWALK will proceed through Downtown and its neighborhoods on Oct. 14.

Prior AIDSWALKS were at the University of Arizona. AIDSWALK is partnering with Tucson Meet Yourself.

“We are proud to partner with Tucson Meet Yourself and move our largest fundraising event to our city’s beautiful and vibrant Downtown,” said Wendell Hicks, executive director of the AIDS Foundation. “By partnering with this iconic event we will support the revitalization of Downtown and reach new audiences thereby increasing the community’s awareness of HIV/AIDS and SAAF care services and prevention programs. Our partnership also has the added bonus of saving funds by sharing costs of equipment, stages, booths and tents.”

This year’s AIDSWALK program on Oct. 14 starts at 8:15 a.m. with the walk itself setting off at 9 a.m. from Jácome Plaza in front of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library.

The walk heads north to Franklin Street, then turns west to Meyer and Main avenues before heading south on Granada Avenue all the way to Cushing Street. Then walkers turn east to Church, head through La Placita Village and across the pedestrian bridge, through El Presidio Park and to the county courthouse courtyard.

After the walk, there will be a Quilt Opening Ceremony at about 10:15 a.m. in front of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library. Four quilts from the National AIDS Project will be opened.

SAAF will provide free testing in vans in front of Jácome Plaza the entire weekend and hopes many people will take advantage of this opportunity. The test is free, fast, and easy and results of the test are available within 20 minutes.

“The AIDS crisis generated one of the largest spontaneous formations of a folk community unified around the theme of illness and loss,” said Maribel Alvarez, program director for Tucson Meet Yourself. “Many rituals, symbols, and forms of art developed out of that moment. We are thrilled to join with SAAF in celebrating and interpreting these rituals and symbols through presenting the exhibits ‘Quilts Making a Difference’ and ‘Symbols and Traditions of AIDS Activism.’”

The first Tucson AIDSWALK was held in 1988 as the Walk of Life and since then over 200 local and national companies and organizations have supported Your Local AIDSWALK.

Over the past 20 years, the Tucson community response has been overwhelming: AIDSWALK has generated more than $3,000,000 in support from corporate sponsors, walkers, and donors.

The community’s support of Tucson’s AIDSWALK over the years has made an important and lasting statement about Southern Arizona’s commitment to the fight against AIDS.

AIDSWALK attracts approximately 6,000 Walkers annually and continues to enjoy strong corporate underwriting alliances.

One hundred percent of the money raised by walkers stays right here in Southern Arizona.

This event provides tremendous support to Southern Arizona in helping to provide services like medications assistance, food programs, case management, housing, prevention programs, HIV testing and more and has raised millions over the past two plus decades.

This year, the AIDS Foundation is excited to team up with another Tucson treasure, Tucson Meet Yourself. This innovative collaboration will help both events reach a whole new audience and means greatly expanded exposure for SAAF and AIDSWALK while also helping to maximize resources and save both non-profits on expenses.

This year’s goal is to have 6,000 walkers and raise more than $150,000 to help support programs and services of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation.


Event Program Begins: 8:15 a.m.

Warm Up/ Music: 8:30 a.m.

Walk Start Time: 9 a.m.

Ending Ceremony: 10 a.m.

Quilt Opening: 10:15 a.m.