The disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic have made the fight against HIV and AIDS even more important, and heightened the need for awareness of the importance of HIV testing and treatment.
As the nation prepares to mark 40 years of HIV in America this summer, Chase Brexton Health Care will host its AIDS Walk & Music Festival to support local HIV and AIDS programs. This year, to help participants remain safe, the event will take on a virtual form.
We asked Clare Elliott, Assistant Director of Development for Chase Brexton Health Care, to share some details about this year’s event, how it will be different, and how individuals can get involved to help end the HIV epidemic.
How have you adjusted this year’s AIDS Walk & Music Festival 2021 to be COVID-safe?
We want everyone to join us for a virtual challenge from May 23 to June 5 and then celebrate with us on Sunday, June 6 at 5 p.m. at our virtual music festival. You can register today at www.baltimoreaidswalk.org, and during your registration you’ll be asked to join the Baltimore AIDS Walk & Music Festival Club on Strava. You’ll use the Strava app to log the miles you run, walk, or bike. The team and individual with the most miles counted between May 23 and June 5 will win bragging rights. A link to the music festival will be sent out to registered participants.
How will you kick off this year’s event?
This year’s event will begin with the Mile Challenge on May 23. Mayor Brandon Scott will join local community partners and stakeholders for a tour rooted in HIV history through the streets of Baltimore, beginning in the Waverly neighborhood and ending at the current location of Chase Brexton Health Care on North Charles Street in Mt. Vernon.
Who will perform during the musical celebration on June 6?
Eze Jackson has been called “one of the most iconic, indispensable voices in Baltimore music.” A talented hip hop MC, front-man for the band Soul Cannon, he is an ever-present collaborator, and an artist who infuses soul and justice into his every word.
Wendel Patrick has been referred to as “David Foster Wallace reincarnated as a sound engineer” by Urbanite Magazine and as “wildly talented” by the Baltimore Sun. The alter-ego of classical and jazz pianist Kevin Gift, Wendel Patrick is rapidly making a name for himself as a producer to be recognized.
Jasmine Pope is a lyricist who ziggs and zaggs between clever lyrical melodies and rapid-fire rhymes with a free- feeling flow and a sophisticated swagger. Jasmine’s compelling spoken-word delivery and captivating stage presence has become a stalwart of the local scene.
What will funds raised during the event support?
In partnership with local community organizations, we anticipate 500 participants with the goal of raising $165,000 to support these Community Partners with their HIV and AIDS programming. Proceeds raised by Chase Brexton Health Care will support the delivery of HIV medication to our patients’ doorstep through our prescription delivery program.
How can people register and get involved?
Individuals can register and create a team at baltimoreaidswalk.org. We also hope they’ll share the event and post about their progress on social media, and create a Facebook Fundraiser to support their team. They can invite their family and friends to support them with a donation, or register to join their team! Most importantly, we hope they share information about HIV testing and treatment options with their communities.
For more information about the Baltimore AIDS Walk & Music Festival 2021, visit www.baltimoreaidswalk.org.