Local and Community News
Los Angeles: Latinos at Odds Over Plan for AIDS Memorial
February 26, 2003
In an attempt to address HIV/AIDS denial in the Latino community, activists led by longtime eastside organizer Richard Zaldivar have proposed a memorial to AIDS victims at Lincoln Park in the largely Latino Los Angeles community of Lincoln Heights.Adapted from:
The project is envisioned as an expansive, permanent monument in a public setting that includes a rose garden, stylized benches, a sculpture and eight wall panels with the names of victims -- Latinos as well as non-Latinos. The memorial would be financed with $400,000 from the state and $75,000 from the city. Private donors have added $30,000.
But the nine-year project has hit a snag. Opponents are concerned about the appropriateness of the monument in a community park and the destruction of green space in a part of town where parkland is scarce. "It's simply a case of taking up too much park space," said Hugo Pacheco, a Lincoln Heights resident who has helped spearhead the drive against the memorial. "And why just AIDS? What about diabetes? It's a bigger thing" than AIDS, he said.
Proponents, however, say these arguments mask the real concern of Latinos just not wanting to talk about the deadly disease in their community. "We need to start talking about it because it's our epidemic," said Zaldivar. "And among Latinos, there seems to be this overwhelming fear that someone will hear them talking about their lovers who died from it."
Pacheco questioned the assertion by Zaldivar that the memorial will help the public understanding of AIDS. "A monument that may list 2,000 victims will make the park look like a cemetery. And if you're in the park with your kids, how do you start explaining AIDS to your kids?" he asked. Zaldivar replied, "We need to be responsible on how to create a discussion and take ownership of an epidemic that is killing us."
Los Angeles Times
02.17.03; George Ramos
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.