Dancers Responding to AIDS
A Program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Organizations Nationwide Give Hope to People in Need
In Manhattan’s diverse neighborhood of Harlem, the incidence of HIV/AIDS is staggering. With limited access to quality care, education and treatment, the rate of infection is five times the national average and HIV-positive people in Harlem are 50 percent more likely to die than in Manhattan as a whole.
“I was at my lowest when I was first diagnosed,” said Fayetta, who’s been living with HIV for 30 years. “I couldn’t get more depressed. I didn’t even want to wake up anymore. At the time, it seemed like the worst news in the world.”
Feeling alone and hopeless, Fayetta reached out to Harlem United Community AIDS Center, one of the 462 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide that received a grant in 2016 from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
“I started having grandchildren and I realized I want to be around for them,” Fayetta said. “Now, thanks to Harlem United, I know how to live with what I have and how to let the medicine work for me. I went from living on the streets and scraping the pavement to having a place to sleep at night and recovering.”
Broadway Cares awarded a record-breaking $6.6 million this year to AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. These grants give hope, opportunity and empowerment to those in need across the country.
Valentine was living in California when he was first diagnosed with HIV. He assumed his life in music would become a casualty of his status. “I had lost a bunch of weight,” Valentine said. “Friends and family were visiting and it felt like they were paying their last respects.”
Although people are living longer thanks to advancements in medication and awareness, HIV transmission rates remain the same today as they did in the 1990s. Of the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, 76 percent are men.
After moving to Coeur d’Alene, ID, Valentine sought help from the North Idaho AIDS Coalition. Once he was given the correct medication to regain his strength and the mentorship to fuel his self worth, he was able to rekindle his love of music. He now channels his emotional journey into his songwriting.
“My diagnosis impacted my spirit,” Valentine said. “My music is emotional and those emotions come from my spirit. I feel like I was given the chance to start over. I may have old experiences that determine my path, but I am so thankful for this new life I get to live.”
North Idaho AIDS Coalition’s 2016 grant of $10,000 was part of the summer’s largest grant round, which awarded more than $2.2 million to 299 organizations. The funding supports direct services and case management, supportive housing programs, emergency financial assistance, harm reduction programs and quality of life services.
Earlier this year, Broadway Cares awarded $1.8 million to 118 organizations for food service and meal delivery programs. Helping ensure nutritious meals reach those in need remains a high priority for Broadway Cares as it is an essential part of a lifesaving regimen.
In March, $842,000 was awarded to 45 nationally recognized AIDS service and advocacy agencies. The work of these agencies directly impacts the hundreds of service providers Broadway Cares funds.
With support and encouragement from the AIDS and family service organizations Broadway Cares awards grants to, the most vulnerable among us are given a newfound sense of hope and purpose.
“I choose to think of this virus as a blessing,” Fayetta said. “I have the right medication and it’s working. I’m living to see my grandchildren become adults; they’re 19 and 17. I never thought I’d get this far.”
National Grants By Fiscal Year