October 26, 2012
About 4,000 people have registered for the 26th Annual AIDS walk Washington, which takes place on October 27. Participants may walk the circuit or do the timed 5K run. The community has already raised more than $500,000 for the Whitman-Walker Health Clinic and 17 community partner organizations. The day's two awardees are the GEICO insurance company, which has been involved with the AIDS Walk for years, and George Kerr. GEICO will receive the Community Service award, and Kerr, the Courage Award. George Kerr is co-founder and executive director of START (syringe, training, advocacy, resources, and treatment) a program of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Kerr, a former navy man, tried his hand at various jobs, and then became involved with the well-being of others when he worked for the international nonprofit organization FHI 360. He founded D.C. Fights Back, a grassroots organization advocating for people affected by HIV/AIDS. In 2008, he co-founded START at Westminster to offer HIV testing and counseling, education, referrals, condom distribution, and other services. Now START has added a mobile unit that goes out into the community. Kerr states that in its first two years, the group has tested more than 1,600 persons per year. He is also working with the D.C. office of the Atlanta-based Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary as a co-moderator of the Presbyterian AIDS Network, helping to prepare a three-day workshop at the seminary to educate new pastors about HIV.
The AIDS Walk Washington begins at 7 a.m. at Freedom Plaza at Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th Street N.W. The run starts at 8:30.a.m. and the walk at 9:15 a.m. The post-walk celebration starts at 10:a.m. Registration costs from $15 to $40. To register, or for more information, call (202) 332-WALK or visit the website: aidswalkwashington.org.