June is AIDS Education Month
Thank you to everyone who made the 20th Anniversary of AIDS Education Month the best AEM yet!
Keynote Address at the 2014 Prison Health Care & Reentry Summit by Michelle Alexander
FIGHT Remembers Gloria Casarez, Director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs
Philadelphia FIGHT joins the LGBTQ and AIDS communities in mourning the loss of Gloria Casarez. During her time as the director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, Gloria brought her fierce commitment to justice and equity for the LGBTQ community to city government and shifted the definition of that community to more clearly include people of color, women, and transgendered persons. No one before Gloria was able to raise a rainbow flag over City Hall, and no one before Gloria was as effective in including all of the LGBTQ community within the rainbow. All of us with a need to work with City government benefited from her knowledge and her advice and we knew she was our advocate within the halls of government as well.
Her work in HIV/AIDS through GALAEI (Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative) previously brought a refreshing renewal of spirit to that organization. We shared a common building for several years, and Gloria made sure GALAEI was a good neighbor to FIGHT as well as an important resource for our Latino/a clients who often needed services that at the time we could not otherwise provide. We were proud to honor Gloria with the Kiyoshi Kuromiya award for HIV/AIDS activism in 2011 in recognition of her many years of activism on behalf of disenfranchised Latino/a LGBT youth.
Gloria wasn’t just a policymaker and activist. She was a kind, generous, and fun person. She bravely fought her cancer for many years and even as a cancer patient she remained an activist, often refusing to cover her head, or cover over her diagnosis. Everybody loved Gloria, and we will all miss her very much.