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AIDS Action Honors Heroes In Fight Against AIDS At May 13 National Leadership Awards Ceremony

April 19, 1996

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jose Zuniga

Washington, D.C. Seven individuals and a media conglomerate who have exhibited extraordinary leadership, commitment and courage in the fight against AIDS will be honored May 13 at the sixth annual AIDS Action National Leadership Awards at the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C. The awards are presented in recognition of contributions made by individuals and organizations to the AIDS community in public policy, advocacy, community service and media advocacy. Awardees this year are U.S. Reps. Constance Morella (R-Md.) and Gerry Studds (D-Mass.), longtime AIDS advocates Tom Stoddard and Moises Agosto, youth advocate Antigone Hodgins, Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, AIDS Walk founder Craig R. Miller, and Home Box Office.

  • "As a community, we all too often are engaged in battle to preserve our hard won victories and defeat the attempts made by people who would subvert the national response to AIDS on the grounds of moral condemnation or in the name of fiscal conservatism," said Fred Miller, AIDS Action's interim Executive Director. "This event is an opportunity for those who are immersed in the battles to pause and recognize our heroes and leaders, people without whom the cause for which we all fight would be surely lost."
  • The Public Policy award is presented to an individual or individuals intimately involved in developing, influencing, enacting or administering national public policy initiatives on HIV/AIDS. AIDS Action has chosen to honor Reps. Constance Morella and Gerry Studds, both of whom are staunch advocates in Congress on HIV/AIDS issues, for their active leadership roles in passing and protecting key pieces of AIDS-specific legislation in the 104th Congress. Morella and Studds have 100 percent voting records on AIDS-related legislation.
  • The Advocacy award is presented to an individual who has shown unwavering dedication and skill in advocating on HIV/AIDS issues. Tom Stoddard, a New York-based AIDS advocate who himself is HIV-infected, has a long record of achievements in AIDS-related civil rights. Stoddard's achievements while executive director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund included making significant legal advances in eliminating and outlawing AIDS discrimination nationwide. A frequent spokesperson for the AIDS cause, Stoddard continues to provide rational and compassionate arguments in response to hostile societal attitudes toward those living with HIV/AIDS.
  • The Pedro Zamora Memorial Award, named in honor of MTV "Real World" star and former AIDS Action board member Pedro Zamora, is presented to a young adult who, like Pedro, demonstrates leadership and commitment to curb the spread of HIV among young Americans. Antigone Hodgins will be honored for her role in elevating AIDS awareness among young adults. Hodgins founded and serves as the executive director of San Francisco's Bay Area Young Positives, an organization dedicated to the needs of HIV-positive youth and at risk youth. A personal friend and colleague of Pedro Zamora's, Hodgins has dedicated herself to continuing Pedro's legacy of open communication about AIDS.
  • The Jim Pewett Memorial Award, named in honor of former AIDS Action board member Jim Pewett, is presented to a person living with AIDS who has shown extraordinary leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This year's recipient, Moises Agosto, has been an AIDS activist on the streets of Puerto Rico and New York and in the halls of Congress since soon after his diagnosis in 1987. Currently serving as director for AIDS treatment and research at the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), Agosto has dedicated himself to the fight for increased access to new life-enhancing and extending treatments and therapies, particularly for people of color living with HIV/AIDS.
  • The Community Service award is presented to an individual who has given selflessly of his/her time, talent and resources in the national fight against HIV/AIDS. The Community Service award will be presented this year to Craig R. Miller, president of Miller, Zeichik and Associates, Inc. (MZA), and Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke. Miller, whose organization originated the AIDS Walk concept, will be honored for his many years of extraordinary effort and innovation. Over the past decade, Miller has raised more than $100 million for AIDS service providers. The AIDS Walks that MZA created have shattered all AIDS fundraising records and serve as the model for similar events throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Mayor Schmoke recognized very early in his administration the emergency posed by the high incidence of injection drug use in Baltimore, and its direct correlation to the spread of HIV disease. Courageously challenging his state's paraphernalia law, Schmoke extensively lobbied for needle exchange legislation. He armed himself with data from scientific studies showing that needle exchange can curb the spread of AIDS among injection drug users. His efforts proved successful with passage of a bill allowing Baltimore to establish a pilot needle exchange program.
  • The Media award is presented to an individual or a print or broadcast medium involved in developing, producing, reporting or performing in electronic or print media the result of which has a significant national impact of influencing public opinion in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Home Box Office has been selected for this honor because of its superior representation of the AIDS crisis through film making. HBO's AIDS-specific productions include "And the Band Played On," "Eagle Scout," and the upcoming "Before You Go, A Daughter's Diary."

The 1996 AIDS Action National Leadership Awards ceremony is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 13, at the Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The awards ceremony will be preceded by a reception at 6:30 p.m. and followed by a buffet supper at 8:30 p.m.

Awardee photographs and/or Home Box Office's logo are available upon request.

Jose Zuniga
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300 exension 3042
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)

AIDS HIV Issues/Policy/AIDS Action Alerts and Press Releases
04/19/96--HandsNet Public Forums--HN3384

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.