On Thursday, more than 20 buildings across New York will be lit in red, providing a stunning spectacle for anyone with a view of the skyline. The red glow does much more than offer a pretty view—the initiative aims to raise awareness for HIV and AIDS leading up to the AIDS Walk on Sunday.
This year marks the 31st year for the AIDS Walk, which has gone a long way in shining a light on the disease in New York and beyond since its inception. For many New Yorkers, it can be easy to forget that AIDS is still a major issue that affects millions of people. According to the CDC, more than 39,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with HIV in 2015, 67 percent of which were gay and bisexual men.
This year, the AIDS Walk brings a whole new sense of urgency. With the recent passage of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives, the event's organizers (Gay Men's Health Crisis) have grave concerns about losing funding for HIV treatment and research.
"The potential outcomes are devastating, not only for the LGBT community, but for all Americans," said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. "AIDS Walk New York is a chance for people who care about public health and social justice to rally together and raise their voices against this disastrous bill—while raising funds to support those it could harm the most."
The buildings to be lit in red include the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Madison Square Garden and the New York Stock Exchange. If you're amazed by the coordinated glow this weekend, consider donating to organizations like GMHC or participating in the AIDS Walk.