I know that we have joined forces to participate in an event that calls attention to a matter that is affecting all of us in some way, shape, or form. A disease that has grown to epidemic proportions over the past three decades. A disease that kills approximately three million people each year. One that has no regard for race, religion, age, class, or gender. It doesn't care if you are married, single, straight, gay, on the D.L. or any other term we'd like to use to describe our relationship status or sexual preference. It shows no partiality to the drug user shooting up with a dirty needle to get a fix, over the individual needing a blood transfusion to preserve his or her life. The fact that you are an innocent, newborn baby with the chance at a life full of possibilities for greatness means absolutely nothing to this wretched killer. And for the 15 million children worldwide who are orphaned each year because their mothers and fathers and caregivers have fallen prey to this disease, it has no regard. HIV/AIDS simply doesn't care. It has no fear...no regard...no heart. So we must!
I chose to start our team 'For the Love of Life' during AIDS WALK NY 2010 out of responsibility. I have walked in past years as an individual trying to do my part. This year, however, I realize that with my platform there comes a greater responsibility to bringing awareness to AIDS WALK NY. I was introduced to the event by a friend who has lost both parents to this disease. Upon meeting this beautiful, well spoken, well put together young lady who exudes an abundance of love and wisdom from her spirit, one would never believe that she and her siblings had been rendered both motherless and fatherless at the hands of AIDS. I can also remember being in elementary school and going to a friend's house for a sleepover. As children do, me and the other girls ventured throughout our friend's house until we came to a bedroom that we were warned not to go into because her father was in there “sick and sleeping”. That night we slept on the living room floor and almost as if he were breathing in our innocence, her father made his way to the base of the stairs to watch us sleep. That was the last I saw him. I found out that he died a few years later. But not until recently, however, was it revealed that his sickness was AIDS. He died in secrecy and shame and his family lived on in bondage from the weight of that secret for many years to come because we live in a society riddled with preconceived notions about AIDS.