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Alan Cumming, Nick Adams, LaChanze, Peter Staley and Jay Armstrong Johnson Join Subway Ad Campaign to Confront Hateful Rhetoric

"Hate Is Not a New York Value" Subway Campaign Confronts Environment of Hostility Toward GMHC Clients
4.26.2016

Subway campaign available for download and publication here

 

 

 

GMHC

AIDS WALK NEW YORK

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2016
Contact: Anthony Hayes l 917-601-0410 l anthonyh@gmhc.org
Ben Fordham | benf@aidswalk.net | 212.807.9255

New York, New York:  AIDS Walk New York and Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) launched a subway ad campaign series titled "Hate is NOT a New York Value" to very publicly stand up to the hateful rhetoric from the presidential campaign trail. GMHC, the beneficiary of AIDS Walk New York, says its clients, most of whom are people of color, low-income, members of the LGBT community, or women, are being bombarded with stigmatizing and degrading messages emanating from this year's election season.
 
The ads are placed in 2,000 New York City subway cars and seen by as many as 1.5 million riders each day - totaling more than 120 million views over 4 weeks. They depict a diverse group of New Yorkers and AIDS Walk supporters. The new wave of posters feature actors Alan Cumming, LaChanze, and Nick Adams, as well as prominent AIDS activist Peter Staley. Each of them takes a stand with the defiant message, "Hate is not a New York value!" displayed in a banner over their heads, and the phrase, "Don't stand for it - walk!" emblazoned across their chests. Others feature a mixed-race male couple (Jay Armstrong of ABC's Quantico and his partner, actor Mike Millan) proclaiming, "The only barriers we want between people are condoms!", and a woman of color stating that she walks "to protect my healthcare."
 
"GMHC's clients are under attack by some current political frontrunners," said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. "The hate speech that these so-called leaders are spewing is clearly intended to foster public ridicule of people and families that rely on government-sponsored medical care and other social services. The degrading statements being made about women, immigrants, minorities, the poor and LGBT people are perpetuating exactly the kind of environment that we have to fight back against if we are serious about ending the AIDS epidemic."
 
"I am so proud of GMHC and AIDS Walk New York for once again taking a risk and doing the right thing in a challenging political climate," said Alan Cumming who is appearing in this latest campaign and has participated in several AIDS Walk New York events over the years. "With the help of leaders like GMHC Co-Founder, Larry Kramer, the organization fought hard against bigoted nonsense in the 80s. Today, thanks to leaders like Kelsey Louie, they are being just as bold."
 
"Back in the 1980s, Jesse Helms engaged in this kind of hate speech," said Peter Staley, a prominent leader of the 1980s and 90s activist group ACT UP. "Thirty years later, many thought such ignorance from political leaders was largely a thing of the past. Not so. Today, we are witnessing an astounding eruption of hatred towards the people that are most affected by HIV."
 
"Fifteen years ago, when I came through the doors of GMHC, I could barely walk. I was on the brink of death," said Manny Rivera, GMHC Board Member and Chair of the Client Advisory Board. "These days, I feel more attacked by some national leaders aiming for higher office than I do by the virus! With this new AIDS Walk New York campaign, and with the event coming up in May, we have a chance to rise above such hurtful rhetoric and encourage the public to join us in doing so."
 
"Too much of the rhetoric we are hearing on the campaign trail today is fueled by hatred, discrimination and prejudice," said GMHC Board Co-Chair Robbie Kaplan. "And all too often, it is not the loudest individuals who cause the most harm, but instead everyone else who remains silent or complacent in the face of such repugnant rhetoric.  GMHC was founded to fight the kind of passivity that permits such hateful rhetoric by demanding concrete, comprehensive policies that advance social justice and equal rights for all, including people living with HIV and AIDS.  GMHC is here to remind everyone that hatred is not an American value and that sexism, racism and homophobia can never be tolerated - period."
 
"We're fighting back against the haters and their attempts to dominate the media," said AIDS Walk Founder and Senior Organizer Craig Miller who, along with his organization of activists, designed the new AIDS Walk campaign that is hitting the streets.
 
Thousands of advertisements from the new campaign have been posted in MTA Subway cars, where they will remain through mid-May. AIDS Walk New York will take place on Sunday, May 15. To learn more and to register for this year's event, visit ny.aidswalk.net.

 Hate is not a New York value!

 

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About Gay Men's Health Crisis
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 9,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epidemic's largest U.S. epicenter. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org.

About AIDS Walk New York: 
Since 1986, AIDS Walk New York has raised more than $144 million for HIV programs and services in the tri-state area, and has grown into the largest AIDS fundraising event in the world.  In 2015 alone, 30,000 participants, many of whom were members of more than 2,600 corporate and community teams, raised nearly $5 million for GMHC and 40 other tri-state area AIDS service organizations.  For more information, please visit http://ny.aidswalk.net/.
 
About MZA Events: 
AIDS Walk New York was founded in 1986 by Craig R. Miller and his organization of activists, MZA Events.  Miller is the AIDS Walk originator and has produced hundreds of public service campaigns and fundraising events, generating more than $380 million for major AIDS organizations throughout the country.  For more information, please visit mzaevents.com.