Bright and early on the morning of Sunday, July 17th, 25 eager youth from Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) all over Northern California showed up at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to march with GSA Network’s team in the 25th Annual AIDS Walk San Francisco. Decked out in their GSA gear, the youth bravely carried their banners, and walked for a great cause.
"It was really heartening to see so many youth not only participating in AIDS Walk, but also actively fundraising and engaging in HIV/AIDS awareness. I think for some youth, HIV/AIDS does not seem like a real and present issue for their generation,” said Amanda Harris, GSA Network’s Northern California Program Coordinator and AIDS Walk team leader. “Seeing young people come forward to be a part of the walk, however, proves that young leaders in GSAs know how important these discussions are and that HIV/AIDS activism should always be at the forefront of Queer movements.”
GSA Network was excited to welcome newcomers, current participants and alumni to walk with the team. Ameya Futnani, a freshman at The College Preparatory School in Oakland, was excited to walk with GSA Network. “I did the AIDS Walk last year, but I didn’t have this many people marching with me, or raise this much money,” she said. “It feels great!” Together, GSAs raised over $2,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation!
While warming up, several Northern California GSAs discussed what the walk meant to them. “For me, the AIDS Walk represents standing up and making a difference,” reflected Tina Meeks, a team member from El Cerrito High School GSA. Tina participated in the AIDS Walk before and said she couldn’t wait to come back. Irene Rojas-Carroll, GSA Network Youth Council member and organizer of the El Cerrito High School’s team, said, “It felt great to be a part of the AIDS Walk this year. It was, hands down, our GSA's most successful event and we felt especially proud of our accomplishment.”
We are very proud of our courageous youth who stepped up for change and walked in solidarity with our activist allies at AIDS Walk San Francisco to fight for a cure to HIV/AIDS.