After 14 Years, AIDSWalk LA Is Leaving WeHo

AIDSWalk Los Angeles in West Hollywood
AIDS Walk Los Angeles in West Hollywood

AIDS Walk Los Angeles, for 14 years a major event in West Hollywood and for the LGBT community, is leaving the city for downtown Los Angeles.

The event, which began in 1985, was raised more than $75 million for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), an AIDS service organization whose mission is improving the lives of people affected by HIV, reducing the incidence of HIV infection and advocating for fair and effective HIV-related public policy.

It attracts thousands of people each Fall who are organized in teams, many with corporate sponsors. Typically it begins in West Hollywood Park and also ends in the park after a 10 kilometer walk.

This year’s walk, which takes place Oct. 23, will begin in Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles and end there.

Craig Miller, AIDS Walk’s founder and senior organizer, lauded West Hollywood for serving as a host of the event over the years.

“This move is an aspirational move,” Miller said. “It’s not about moving away from West Hollywood, it’s about moving forward.”

Miller said Grand Park offers a number of advantages, including being in the center of a revitalized downtown with a growing gay community. Grand Park is so large, so event friendly and so able to accommodate a large crowd, a variety of music , so much parking, a metro station that comes up in the middle of the venue,” Miller aid.

He said the downtown location also helped APLA get its message in front of a variety of communities. “AIDS Walk Los Angeles continues to enjoy tremendously strong support from the LGBT community and from all races of all stripes,” he said. “The area of West Hollywood has a lot of HIV awareness and a lot of HIV services very much in its back yard That is less true of downtown LA, south LA and east LA.”

“This is about making the event more accessible to a broader audience,” Miller said, noting that APLA is considering offering a free shuttle from The Abbey to Grand Park on AIDS Walk day. “We will take AIDS Walk out of West Hollywood. But we will never take West Hollywood out of AIDS Walk.”

The move is likely to worry some members of the West Hollywood LGBT community, who already are concerned that redevelopment of West Hollywood Park next summer will prevent LA Pride from staging its annual festival there.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  A previous version of this story erred in attributing quotes from an interview with Craig Miller, founder of AIDS Walk, to Craig Thompson, CEO of APLA.  The story has been corrected.

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Carolyn Aliotta
Carolyn Aliotta
3 years ago

Please take the LA AIDS Walk back to West Hollywood. It was so much better. The streets of downtown LA stink of urine & who knows what. The buildings were depressing. My daughter and I pushed a stroller; not fun up the steep hill at the end. My 8 year old grandson had sad questions about all the homeless people. We couldn’t wait to get out of there. If it’s downtown next year, we’re not going to be going.

Jana Yeakel
3 years ago

Guess you haven’t been to downtown in awhile… so many beautiful safe places now!

Jude
Jude
3 years ago

Downtown is dangerous and a garbage pit…. I think they are crazy.

Petra
Petra
4 years ago

I remember the Paramount days. I loved them. I loved the WeHo days. I’m happy that in 2016 I’ll be able to take the train!💕💕💕💕

Katie
Katie
4 years ago

Downtown, here I come. Grand Park is beautiful and AIDS Walk LA is beautiful so this new union is bound to be … beautiful! Excited to join the next phase of the movement.

Manny
Manny
4 years ago

All the advantages of the event friendly Grand Park as described by APLA……including being in the center of a revitalized downtown with a growing gay community, it’s ability to accommodate large crowds, it’s abundance of parking and a metro station near by, are all excellent reasons why the LA Pride “Music Festival” should also move to this same location.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
4 years ago

The demographics of AIDS Walk has evolved over the years; it is certainly far more inclusive today and there is an amazing number of young, non-gay people out walking and raising money. Moving the event to Grand Park is an innovative and smart move; it is subway accessible and it is a beautiful venue. It also focuses on the fact that AIDS is not just a gay man’s issue. Still the move is a milestone for WeHo. As a community we have been more of a spectator than a participant in this event, ( I being as guilty as anyone… Read more »

David Reid
4 years ago

Hey, maybe they should re-name Grand Park Grant Park.
You know, for Lou Grant.
The first character ever to win an Emmy for lead actor in a comedy and drama.
Seis de Mayo!

Arthur
Arthur
4 years ago

It should be closer to the current client base of the organization that it currently serves in order to succeed. Forward thinking.

melrosevillage
4 years ago

When it first started in the 80s, AIDS Walk Los Angeles started and ended at Paramount Studios. After 9/11 studios were considered possible targets and security was increased there. With only a month before the 2001 AIDS Walk, the City of West Hollywood made West Hollywood Park and adjacent streets available. It’s been part of our neighborhood for years.

Emily
Emily
4 years ago

I’ll follow AIDS Walk Los Angeles wherever it goes, and I’ll keep walking until we end AIDS.

Valerie
Valerie
4 years ago

I was at the very first AIDS Walk 30+ years ago at Paramount Studios and many since. This sounds great! Downtown LA on a Sunday should be a breeze! I bet I can catch a train or metro from the valley, easy peezy!

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