SAAF Stands with Transgender Community

Press Release for Immediate Release
October 25, 2018
Based on news reports over the weekend, the Trump administration is working to dramatically roll back protections for transgender students by narrowing the definitions of sex and gender under Title IX that our courts have used to provide protections for LGBTQ+ people. It is reported that the Department of Health and Human Services is moving towards defining sex as solely male or female based on “immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”
The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) stands with community partners to remind this Administration that they do not get to define or erase a person’s innate humanity. We will fight alongside our transgender family to ensure that their rights are protected from targeted attacks and discrimination. Our transgender friends and family cannot and will not be erased.
SAAF’s Executive Director, Wendell Hicks, offered the following statement: “We are saddened to see more of these attacks from the Administration on the lives and the very humanity of people who do not identify with outdated and narrow definitions of gender. At SAAF we welcome our transgender friends and family. We treat all persons with dignity, respect and love. It is our goal to ensure that the transgender community be welcomed in all corners of society.”
While no administration can ever erase transgender people out of existence, we must take action to reject these continued attacks on the lives of our transgender friends and family. We stand with transgender people. We stand for a “healthy and stigma-free community.”
About the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF):
The mission of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) is to cultivate a healthy and stigma-free society through transformative action. Collectively, through its predecessor agencies, SAAF has served the community for more than 30 years by providing services to enhance the health and quality of life for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and to assist people in preventing HIV, substance abuse, hepatitis C, and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). SAAF continually works to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, and focuses on evidence-based prevention programs to reach at-risk populations.
Wendell Hicks, Executive Director
Travis Craddock, Director of Development
(520) 547-6105 or

30th AIDSWALK Touches the Hearts of Hundreds

On the morning of Sunday, October 14th, 2018 hundreds of people gathered early in Downtown Tucson to show their support for the 30th Annual AIDSWALK Tucson.

Everyone has a different reason for walking, some very personal while others walk due to a strong sense of community.  No matter the reason, the presence of approximately 500 participants and an additional 350 volunteers showed resounding support for the HIV/AIDS prevention and care services provided by the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF).
The event began early with a fun run, where joggers traversed puddles under blue skies as they ran through the streets of downtown, being cheered on every time they circled through the main event stage.  Shortly after, Wendell Hicks, SAAF’s Executive Director, took to the stage to remind everyone why they came out to support AIDSWALK: “We need you to continue this walk, to build on the strides we’ve made in fighting HIV/AIDS and to take the steps to move us closer to reducing the spread of new infections in our community.”

Over thirty years later, the Tucson community still stands up when it comes to helping the most vulnerable among us.

Wendell went on to ask the crowd full of hundreds of people to raise their hand if it was their first AIDSWALK.  Many hands rose.  For some it was their first AIDSWALK, for others, their tenth, twentieth, and even thirtieth.
As part of the 30th AIDSWALK Tucson, several individuals and organizations were honored for their continuing support.  Danielle Bautista accepted an award for Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment for their 23 years of commitment and partnership as the AIDSWALK Title Sponsor since 1995.  Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea was also honored as a longtime community partner for AIDSWALK for their 30 years of support.  In addition, Curt Beal and Anne Maley were honored with paper prayers for their longtime support and received the awards of Longtime AIDSWALK Volunteer and Longtime AIDSWALK Walker respectively.
Just prior to bringing Cecilia Rose, Stefi, and BreakOut Studios onstage to help participants warm up with a dance before walking, Wendell stated, “We have traveled a long way and yet we still have so far to go. This walk represents the journey we’ve taken, the strides we’ve made, and the steps we still need to take.”
It’s with this thought that the starting ribbon was cut and around 500 individuals stepped forward in a wave of purple showing all of Tucson and all of Arizona that they care.  They care about those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.  They remember those who have been lost over the years.  They want to see greater HIV prevention and care in the community.  They know that it takes a community and that the work SAAF does everyday matters.

Thanks to the hundreds of participants, volunteers, and sponsors, AIDSWALK Tucson generated around $130,000 dollars to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS. Thank you for being a part of this transformational journey!

Call for 2019 Out Brunch Community Award Nominations

The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) is proud to announce the community nomination period for the 2019 Out Brunch Community Awards.

The Out Brunch Community Awards recognize and celebrate the work and dedication of three exceptional community members.  Nominations open August 23, 2018 and close September 21, 2018.  The awards will be given at the 2019 Out Brunch on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
SAAF is pleased to be able to host the 2nd Annual Out Brunch as a way to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride and to honor the exceptional work of community leaders.  The 2017 recipients included Laura Alexander (Dr. Jean Baker Community Ally), Miki Odawa (Godat), and Dea Brasgalla (Steve Hall).
“This is the chance for SAAF’s community members, organizations and businesses to recognize, celebrate and say thank you to the people who work so hard all year long to enhance and defend the LGBTQ community,” stated SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks.  Nominations are requested from the community, organizations and businesses for the following three categories:

  • The Steve Hall Award is given to an individual who makes outstanding volunteer contributions to further the mission of promoting freedom, equality, safety, and well-being of LGBTQ people in southern Arizona.
  • The Godat Award was inaugurated in 1998 to recognize extraordinary long-term contributions by an individual to southern Arizona’s LGBTQ community.
  • The Dr. Jean Baker Community Ally Award honors a straight ally who has made significant contributions to advance the freedom, equality, safety, and well-being of LGBTQ people in southern Arizona.

Nomination materials can be accessed by clicking here or by contacting SAAF. Contact Travis Craddock, Director of Development, with any questions: 520-574-6105 or  The award recipients will be selected by committee.