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Local and Community News

Los Angeles: Panel's Help Sought in Memorial Dispute

April 11, 2003

Organizers of an AIDS memorial are asking the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission to mediate a dispute with some Lincoln Heights residents who allegedly shouted anti-gay sentiments at a recent meeting and passed out fliers saying the memorial is not the way children should learn about the disease. Until recently, opponents have focused on how the 9,000-square-foot memorial would eliminate parkland, or said they simply do not want it. But the fliers and recent debates have given the conflict a different tenor as the project heads to the city council.

Richard Zaldivar, who heads the nonprofit group backing the memorial The Wall/Las Memorias, wrote to Councilmember Ed Reyes asking that the commission mediate meetings of the two sides. The commission is trying to arrange the meetings, said Gary De La Rosa, the HRC education policy advisor.

The mostly public-funded project, costing about $500,000, was approved last month by the Recreation and Parks Commission. The city is tentatively scheduled to take up the memorial issue Wednesday. The memorial funds must be spent by June 30 or the money could be lost. If the council approves the project, Zaldivar said, construction would begin in May.

The flier was distributed one Sunday last month outside Sacred Heart Church. It warns that a group of "Latino gay men has been covertly trying to make a monument to themselves." The flier also warns that the project might lead children to the memorial's Web site, where they "will not only read about the gay lifestyle but will also see invitations to participate in gay pool parties."

The flier is signed by the Coalition to Save Lincoln Park. But people who have passed out the flier said they do not know who wrote it or organized the coalition. "This is not a way of introducing the issue to children," said Hugo Pacheco, who passed out the flier at the church. The Sierra Club has long opposed the memorial because northeast Los Angeles lacks parkland.

Back to other CDC news for April 11, 2003

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Adapted from:
Los Angeles Times
04.11.03; Jose Cardenas

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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.
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