Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP), www.wncap.org
Contact: Chris Winebrenner, 828-252-7489, ext. 315
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AIDS Awareness Walk First of Several Advocacy
Activities Planned by WNCAP 
  
Asheville, NC - The Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP), in partnership with thirty-six community-based organizations, non-profits, churches and businesses, will host the Asheville AIDS Awareness Walk 2010 on Saturday, November 6th. Walkers will gather at 11am in The Grove House at 11 Grove Street in downtown Asheville and proceed up Patton Avenue to the Vance Monument where Womansong of Asheville will perform. Scheduled speakers include County Commissioner David Gantt, AIDS Advocate Joy Oliver, and Reverend Brian Combs of the Haywood Street Congregation.
 
“This year’s AIDS Walk theme is unity and hope,” says Peggy Weil, WNCAP Advocacy Coordinator and AIDS Walk team leader. “Unity is represented by the number of groups who have joined our coalition in the effort to raise community awareness that HIV/AIDS continues to infect more than fifty-six-thousand people each year in the United States. The walk is about remembering that this disease has taken the lives of more than 25 million people worldwide, but it is also about hope. Hope for a cure, hope for more public focus on education and prevention, hope for better funding of lifesaving HIV-related services, and hope for those millions who live day-to-day with HIV/AIDS.”
 
The November 6th walk is just one of WNCAP’s many upcoming advocacy-related events. In October, WNCAP will co-produce NC Stage Company’s production of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play “Angels in America”. WNCAP staff and volunteers will facilitate informal community discussions about HIV/AIDS after several of the performances.
 
From November 22nd through December 2nd, WNCAP will host an exhibit of more than 15 handmade panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at Pack Place in commemoration of World AIDS Day, which is on December 1st each year.  Each of the panels displayed is an artistic remembrance of a life lost to AIDS. A candlelight memorial vigil will be held on the evening of December 1st, also at Pack Place.
 
“People seem tired of talking about AIDS or mistakenly believe it has been cured or that it is just a problem in Africa or other countries,” according to Michael Harney, WNCAP Educator.  “What our community and region have to realize is that without more open and realistic prevention education programs, people will continue to be infected. People in our neighborhoods are sick and marginalized because of this disease. If we, as a concerned people, can talk about and deal with HIV/AIDS, we can also begin addressing all the social problems that surround the disease: poverty, homophobia, healthcare, racism.  They are all interconnected.”
 
The AIDS Awareness walk is free to the community, but event organizers are asking walkers to please leave pets at home. Secure parking will be provided on Grove Street.  For additional AIDS Walk details or more information about any of WNCAP’s planned activities, please visit www.wncap.org.
 
WNCAP is an AIDS service organization whose mission is to provide HIV-related services to residents in eighteen counties of WNC, through supportive services for those living with HIV/AIDS and prevention education for all.
 
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Western North Carolina AIDS Project • 554 Fairview Rd. • Asheville, NC 28803
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