It was a day filled with music and food on South Fifth Street in Philadelphia.
“It’s a block party, so everyone comes here and has fun!” said volunteer Alvin Lam.
Many people came together to celebrate Philly Aids Thrift’s 14th annual block party.
“We are celebrating our 14th annual block party and giving back to the community,” said volunteer Phillip Chau.
Philly Aids Thrift Store is known for its innovative fashion and bargain prices. However, one of the main goals of the store is to promote awareness of sexual health in the LGBTQ community.
“Serving the community, especially the LGBTQ community, and combating homelessness. I hope it stays open I hope it continues to serve the community and provide really fabulous clothing for cheap prices!” said drag queen icon Ebony-Fierce, a long-time customer and volunteer at Philly Aids Thrift.
With all the fun and entertainment, it takes a village to ensure the block party is a success.
“I think the main thing for the block party is an opportunity for the volunteers to gather together to celebrate the past year of activity; all their successes for helping the neighborhood and the community,” said Robert Drake, the block party’s volunteer DJ.
Co-founder Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou says ensuring the block party’s success requires patience.
“It was over 14 years ago. I always say that we’re long-time AIDS activists and lovers of junk. We put the two together and this is kind of what we came up with.”
The staff of Philly Aids wanted to normalize getting tested for HIV and AIDS, so they put an on-site testing room right in their store.
“I’m HIV-positive, been there for six years. I hope for a sense of freedom, a sense of privilege,” said Jorian, a member of the HIV-testing program at Philly Aids Thrift.
With the Philly Aids Thrift store celebrating their annual block party, they are excited to promote awareness and acceptance to the LGBTQ community.