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The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) formed a contingent for the 1987 gay and lesbian March on Washington (D.C.), which focused on drawing attention to the AIDS epidemic.

The 1987 March drew on general precedents from the historic 1963 civil rights march on Washington, D.C., led by Martin Luther King Jr., as well as a pre-AIDS gay and lesbian march on the U.S. capital in 1979. It was followed by another gay and lesbian March on Washington in 1993, which nominally focused on the “gays in the military” controversy but which included a major emphasis on AIDS as well. Other marches on Washington, D.C.—for such issues as abortion rights, union mobilization, and racial equality-sometimes have included small contingents from AIDS service and protest organizations.