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More than 26,000 people turned out Sunday for the 21st annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles and raised about $3.2 million, which benefits AIDS Project Los Angeles and 16 other Southern California AIDS service organizations. This year, APLA will also provide cash grants from money raised at the walk to three AIDS service organizations on the Gulf Coast that are working with HIV-positive people affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita: AIDS Alabama, Houston's Montrose Clinic, and the NO/AIDS Task Force of New Orleans will each receive grants of between $20,000 and $25,000.
"The enormous success of the AIDS Walk demonstrates the unwavering resolve and compassion of Angelenos," said Craig E. Thompson, executive director of APLA, in a press release. "AIDS Walk Los Angeles continues to make vital services and prevention education possible in Los Angeles."
The walk included entertainment by Melissa Manchester and Sheryl Lee Ralph. Celebrities participating in the fund-raiser included Rita Moreno (West Side Story), Kathy Najimy (Sister Act), Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Hal Sparks (Queer as Folk), Richard Schiff (The West Wing), John Spencer (The West Wing), Roma Maffia Nip/Tuck), and Bruce Villanch (Hairspray). Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also participated in the event. (Advocate.com)