Oct 1, 2021

Nashville AIDS Walk goes virtual

A group of people walking a previous Nashville AIDS Walk while holding a banner.

A photo from a previous Nashville AIDS Walk. Photo courtesy of Nashville CARES

Jane Boram has been a fixture at the Nashville AIDS Walk for three decades. The retired mental health counselor and pastor has walked every year, even while receiving radiation treatment for breast cancer in 2016.

And yes: She'll be back tomorrow for the 30th anniversary of the AIDS Walk, organized by Nashville CARES.

  • This year's walk is virtual, with separate groups walking their own routes through the city. Boram and friends are starting at Christ Church Cathedral before weaving through downtown.

Why it matters: The AIDS Walk is a major fundraiser for Nashville CARES, a nonprofit that provides education and support to those who live with HIV or are at risk of getting it.

  • Last year, the organization served more than 50,000 people in Middle Tennessee, including 10,000 free and confidential HIV tests.
  • This year, CARES hopes to raise $200,000 through the walk and a corresponding virtual festival that includes entertainment and giveaways.

What she's saying: "Part of my doing this so long is I'm stubborn," Boram told Axios. "When you're fighting for people's justice, their own personal justice, that becomes so passionate.

  • "You can't let go of it. It becomes part of who you are."

Between the lines: Boram started working with CARES in the 1990s, and served as a buddy for a man living with AIDS.

  • She became a family friend, sitting with his mother and walking with him through Shelby Park before he died.
  • Boram still thinks of him when it's time for another walk, but says she's heartened by a new generation of allies working to destigmatize the disease.
  • "That gives me a sense of joy and peace," she said. "It's like a big flock. You just keep adding more sheep."

How to participate: Learn more about the Nashville AIDS Walk, corresponding virtual community festival and grand marshal Leslie Jordan at nashvilleaidswalk.com.


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