WINDY CITY TIMES
||PRCC-VIDA/SIDA event marks World AIDS Day with Vigil and Baton show
by Vern Hester
This article shared 1509 times since Mon Dec 5, 2022
On Dec. 1, the Puerto Rican Community Center (PRCC) and Vida/SIDA celebrated World AIDS Day with a candlelight vigil in the afternoon and a commemorative show at The Baton Show Lounge in the evening. The earlier event saw well over 100 participants as they marched from the TransEmpowerment Center at 2753 W. Division to La Casita de Don Pedro at 2625 W. Division St. for a short rally.
Before the vigil kicked off, PRCC Executive Director Jose Lopez set the tone by speaking on four trans women who were pioneers in the Chicago Puerto Rican community as he stood in front of a gigantic painting of them by artist Cristian Rolvan. Lopez noted that without the fourMs. Ketty, Marixa, Jeanette and Valentinothe community would have been ravaged by HIV and ignorance.
After the vigil Lopez spoke at length about the history and purpose of PRCC and Vida/SIDA: "We've been doing this [celebrating World AIDS Day] since 1988. We are one of the only communities that acknowledges World AIDS Day."
Lopez said, "When AIDS came, it struck as a plague in the community and we were in denial. AIDS was worse in communities of color…[including] the Puerto Rican community and the Black community. Death has an entirely different meaning in this community. When I was a little boy in Puerto Rico, it was a tradition to sit with the deceased for twelve hours with the coffin open on the same table where we ate. With HIV, those coffins were closed."
He continued, "The President, Ronald Reagan [implied that] at the time, 'AIDS is a gay disease,' and you don't need to be concerned about it.' In the world and in the Puerto Rican community, there was a lot of mis-information about the disease…[such as] you can get it by touching or kissing someone. But in our community, we had our own homophobia to face... We believed that AIDS is God's punishment. We said there is something wrong with this picture and we challenged it...we took it on."
Lopez further noted the ground breaking efforts by noted epidemiologist Steven Wakefied (whose studies on health inequities helped frame much of the health and wellness work under taken by the PRCC), Ferd Eggan ( a member of ACT UP) and Bartolo Hernandez de Jesus (a founder of Vida/SIDA).
Lopez closed his remarks by asking all who were present to "see this moment from a serious point of view. We celebrate for people who have lived and died and this is the only way to keep them alive...is to celebrate them."
The event at The Baton may have been a celebration with male and female performers taking the stage, but many participants nevertheless leavened the excitement and joy with poignancy. After her rousing performance, Lisa Cruz spoke about how hard it was to find out that she was HIV positive back in the '80's and how the therapeutic choices were not only few but highly toxic. Her story of survival and perseverance brought the crowd to its feet. Performer Neal Debonair disclosed that he is HIV-positive and further admitted that this was the first time he had admitted the news to anyone except his mother, who was sitting in the audience. Eve Stiles incorporated her status as an undocumented immigrant in her musical performance, while noting the importance of PrEP and an awareness of mpox. She also laughed that her rousing performance was her stage debut.
This article shared 1509 times since Mon Dec 5, 2022
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|Judge halts Texas' ban on drag performances|
U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas David Hittner has stopped the state's ban on drag performanceswhich was scheduled to go into place on Sept. 1enforcing a temporary injunction, media outlets reported. A coalition ...
|Chicago Dancers United raises more than $365K at Dance for Life|
Chicago Dancers United (CDU)which supports the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance communitywelcomed 1,600 people to the 32nd annual Dance for Life on Aug. 19 at Auditorium Theatre, per ...
|New guidelines increase HIV antiretroviral options|
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is expanding its recommendation for HIV antiretrovirals because more options are available on the market, according to MedScape. The guidance, published Aug. 22 in JAMA, updates the group's prev ...
|LIPS Chicago presents Second Annual Night of Stars Fundraiser|
On Aug. 17, LIPS Chicago presented its second annual Night of Stars featuring a special appearance by Cher impersonator Michael Dean. The nearly sold-out event benefitted Connections of Abused Women and their Children, and featured a ...
|SHOWBIZ Variety event, Saucy Santana, Liberace, 'Kokomo City,' Robin Roberts|
Videos below - Variety held its 2023 Power of Young Hollywood event honoring actress Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria; The White Lotus), out actor Noah Schnapp (Stranger Things) and LGBTQ+ musician Steve Lacy, per a press release. A few of the ...
|Man pleads guilty to hate crime at UpRising Bakery|
Alsip, Illinois resident Joseph I. Collins, 25, pled guilty on Aug. 16 to committing a hate crime last summer at UpRising Bakery and Cafe, a Lake in the Hills business that was preparing to host a ...
|Lips Chicago to present 'A Night of Stars' with Michael Dean as Cher|
--From a press release - CHICAGO (July 27, 2023) — Lips Chicago, the ultimate in drag dining, is proud to present "A Night of Stars," with special guest Michael Dean as Cher. It's the second annual charitable fundraiser in support of ...
|WORLD Sauna raid, HIV items, World Bank, 'Barbie,' JK Rowling|
In Venezuela, three men who were arrested when authorities raided a gay sauna on July 23 have been released from jail, per The Washington Blade. Officers in Valencia, the country's third largest city, arrested 33 people ...
|'Show up, Show out!' 32nd Annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago on Sept. 30|
--From a press release - (Chicago, IL) Registration is now open for the 32nd annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago (ARWC) presented by AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) on Saturday, September 30 at Soldier Field. "Show up, Show Out" is this year's ...
|Chicago House indulges in Champagne Wrapture|
Chicago House's annual fundraiser, Champagne Wrapture, returned to the Windy City the evening of Aug. 3. The event was held at 600 N. Fairbanks Court on the rooftop deck and featured a silent auction, free-flowing champagne, ...
|Sami White rules as king on Worst Cooks|
Sami White is taking a whisk by competing on season 26 of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America and hopefully, it all pays off. She goes out of the frying pan and into the fire while navigating the new theme of ...
|NATIONAL Drag news, HIV-bias lawsuit, Disney, Brittney Griner, gay dancer|
Swastika flag-toting neo-Nazis, some of them armed, were at a Wisconsin LGBTQ+ Pride celebration that included a drag show, The Advocate reported. Members of the neo-Nazi extremist group Blood Tribe joined other right-wing hate groups, like ...
|WORLD Marielle Franco, trans student dies, Iranian official, 'Drag Race'|
Brazilian Justice Minister Flavio Dino announced a plea agreement with one of two police officers accused of assassinating Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco, a Black lesbian and human-rights activist who was killed by gunfire from ...
|LGBTQ+ cycling club builds both community and awareness |
By Charlie Kolodziej - For the second summer in a row, Cruise Chi, Chicago's new LGBTQ+ cycling club, has been fostering a sense of community while supporting queer- and trans-advocacy. The group, led by co-founders Alton Deon and Shai Garcia, ...
|NATIONAL Laws challenged, trans man killed, lesbian bars, conversion therapy|
The organizers of Montana's largest LGBTQ+ Pride parade joined a lawsuit challenging a state law aimed at restricting drag performances, according to NBC News. A group of Montanans, including a transgender woman and the owners of ...