AIDS Walk San Diego kicked off at the corner of University and Harvey Milk, in Hillcrest for the 25th time on Sept. 27. Members of the three law schools were there to commemorate, honor, and remember those afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Thomas Jefferson, California Western and University of San Diego combined their efforts to form a team of more than 21 walkers who raised over $1100 for AIDS research.
"It was great to get all three law schools together for a good cause,” said Phylicia Coleman, 2L and president of the Black Law Student Association. “I think joining in with the other law schools showed camaraderie and allowed us to expand our network,” Coleman added that this event is the second that BLSA has worked with OUTLaw on. “It's been a great experience," said Coleman.
While some participants were out to show general support, others had very personal reasons for walking.
“The AIDS awareness walk is a great way for those affected by the disease, allies and supporters of the community to come together and remember those lost or affected by the disease raise money for a cure,” said Chalsie Keller, 3L and member of OUTLaw.
Daven Rajan, 3L and National Lawyers Guild member, echoed Keller’s sentiment by saying one of the many reasons he walks “is simply because the greater the number, the greater the awareness.”
“HIV/AIDS is one of the longest wars we have been fighting, and yet we still have not completely been able to combat it,” Rajan said. “It’s an issue that we need to re-remind ourselves of, because people forget.” Rajan added, “The country has come along way in its reaction to HIV/AIDS; however the fight is far from over.”
For Precious Harrison-Cobb, 2L and BLSA member, the motivation to walk hits very close to home. “My motivation for the walk was to walk in the honor of both of my parents that died HIV positive,” said Harrison-Cobb. Harrison-Cobb’s father died when she was about 12, and her mother died when she was 17. “Since 2006, I have made HIV/AIDS awareness my duty, and I hope that I can continue to educate, inspire, and support America in overcoming this epidemic,” said Harrison-Cobb.
June Fan, 2L and co-president of OUTLaw also participated. “I walked for my friend, who is fighting HIV, and all those who are affected by the disease,” said Fan.
Charlene Mayers, 3L and member BLSA and OUTLaw, also has a personal connection. "I have close friends and family in my life living with HIV/AIDS,” said Mayers. “Seeing them use their diagnosis to educate those around them has been so inspiring for me.” Mayers added, “I walk because each of us have a responsibility to bring the issue to the forefront!"
Other walkers included Jeffrey Carr, 2L and co- president of OUTLaw, Michelle Evenson, 3L and OUTLaw member, Brittney Green 2L and BLSA member, and various members of the Pride Law groups from Cal Western and USD.
Over 8,000 individuals, teams, social clubs, local businesses, schools and universities, faith organizations came together to raise funds to support the more than 20,000 San Diegans living with HIV/AIDS, according to The Center San Diego’s web page.