Marchers remember AIDS victims on Upper West Side

Just over a dozen activists marched down Broadway Tuesday night.

Just over a dozen activists marched down Broadway Tuesday night carrying candles through the rain in remembrance of the many who have succumbed to AIDS.

The marchers proceeded from Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan on West 100th Street to the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew on West 86th Street, where nearly 100 activists were in attendance for a vigil to mourn AIDS victims.

“We’ve all lost someone these days,” said David Charner a 60-year-old from the Upper West Side. “People are still at risk; this is something that people think is over but it’s still very real.” Charner said he lost several friends and colleagues to AIDS, including his brother-in-law.

Over a dozen organizations organized the event, including The Keith Haring Foundation, ACT UP New York and The American Run for the End of AIDS. One of the organizers, 64-year-old Brent Earle, said he was disheartened that turnout has dwindled over the years.

“We fought and struggled so hard just to try get people’s attention and support to fight the disease and now we’ve heard that we’re about to lose a lot of money for cure research because we don’t have the same death burden … so it doesn’t seem as urgent,” said Earle, who was diagnosed with HIV 30 years ago .

Nathaniel Siegel, a 48-year-old living on the Upper East Side, also said that he was disappointed over the decreased participation.

A few hundred names were read to the quiet crowd at the vigil.

Among them were Rock Hudson, Liberace and Keith Haring.

“Just looking around at the turnout, hearing the long list, you see it,” said Greg Elison, a participant at the vigil. “[AIDS] didn’t go away. The names just keep going on and on.”

JASON SHALTIEL. special to amNewYork