Big Freedia Announced as 2019 AIDS Walk Austin Headliner
New Orleans’ Queen of Bounce joins ASA in mission to Step to Zero
By Beth Sullivan,
11:00AM, Wed. Jul. 31, 2019
Do you hear what I queer? It’s the bouncelicious beats of the Queen Diva, because today AIDS Walk Austin announced Big Freedia as the honorary chair and first-ever headlining performer of this year’s AIDS Walk Austin on Saturday, Sept. 21.Now in its 32nd year, the annual walk benefits ten statewide and local HIV/AIDS service organizations – including the hosting nonprofit AIDS Services of Austin – in an effort to help fight stigma, create awareness, and raise funds for HIV prevention and care services for those living with HIV. Big Freedia will be kicking off this year’s event with a brief set before walkers march to the Capitol, followed by a hourlong concert at Republic Square Park where you can bounce the afternoon away upon your return. If this sounds new to you, it’s because 2019’s walk will go down in history as the first AIDS Walk Austin to feature a headliner. Another new addition to this year’s AIDS Walk Austin is beneficiary Austin Black Pride.
By bringing on Big Freedia and ABP, ASA Communications and Marketing Manager Juan Benitez says, AIDS Walk Austin hopes to engage with more communities of color. “We believe that providing life-affirming care can be the difference between a patient surviving, and a patient thriving. We also understand that Latinx and Black persons are disproportionately affected by HIV,” explains Benitez. “To reach zero new HIV infections, we must engage with vulnerable communities and view them not as the problem but invite them to be part of ending the epidemic.”
Last year, Austin joined the global Fast-Track Cities initiative, dedicating itself to reaching zero new HIV infections by 2030 through the 90-90-90 strategy: By 2020, 90% of all Austinites living with HIV will know their status; 90% of residents living with HIV will receive sustained treatment; and 90% of people on sustained treatment will have an undetectable viral load – meaning they can longer pass the virus on to others. To that end, Benitez said this year’s goal is to raise $240,000. For AIDS Walk Austin, he explained, Big Freedia’s performance “is a step to better engagement with culturally diverse communities of color ... a step to reaching younger populations … a step to zero new infections in Austin and Central Texas.”