by Michelle Thornton
Paramount Pictures was the location of the annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles (AWLA) which brought about 46,000 people, together including some from the University of La Verne. Participants spent the afternoon walking the 10k walk to help raise money for people who suffer from HIV and AIDS.
Clad with red ribbons or tributes of their loved ones pinned to their backs, walkers began their march. The event started at 10 a.m., but walkers needed to be present earlier than that to find parking and register.
AWLA walkers received a flyer in the mail that contained a map of the area and indicated sections where parking could be obtained with a $2 fee. Walkers could park there and a shuttle would pick them up and escort them to the registration tables.
Many people had problems with locating the parking lots and resorted to parking on side streets and walking blocks to the start of the walk.
“We parked over by a fire station near where the employees were supposed to park. There were buses that came and shuttled us to Paramount,” said senior Kayla Fikter.
Once near the registration tables, walkers either checked in with their team or by their last names. In order to get a table, teams needed at least 20 people. ULV was three short when they pre-registered.
Walkers turned in the funds that they received and in turn were handed a small bundle of goodies. The bundle included samples of sunscreen, an AIDS walk pin, a book, an envelope to use if they received more funds after the walk and a small book.
The book contains a list of the sponsors who contributed to the project and a list of the teams that walked. The major sponsors for the event included United Airlines, Microsoft Corporation, KMEX-TV, Channel 34 and NBC4.
“It was quite an event. You could have raised the money and sent it in, but there is something in walking with that many people who all came out to support the same cause. It is exciting. You can’t help but be excited,” said Elena Cardeña, campus minister and the university’s AIDS walk team organizer.
Among the 800-plus teams that walked were a few from ULV. Sororities Iota Delta and Phi Sigma Sigma and fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon joined the team that Cardeña organized.
Dan Campana, chair of the religion and philosophy department went on what is his fourth annual AIDS walk.
“It was really warm outside, but it was good to see all the people who were out there supporting the cause. It was worth going through all the heat,” said sophomore Brian Krug.
Although the weather was warm, water stations were set up throughout the walk to keep walkers cool. Los Angeles firefighters were also present at the walk.
At several places throughout the route, a number of trucks were parked. Walkers were hosed in an effort to keep them cool. At one point they opened a fire hydrant that gushed out to the street and all over the walkers. Volunteers managed the streets shouting and encouraging support to everyone who passed by.
“The walk was great. It was one of my best experiences. I would gladly do it again. I wish there had been more volunteers. I told them all thank you, that I appreciate their support and needed that encouragement,” said Rob’n Lewis, ULV switchboard operator.