Los Angeles AIDS Memorial Organizers Ask City Human Relations Commission To Mediate Meeting With Opponents
Organizers of an AIDS memorial planned for Lincoln Park in northeast Los Angeles have asked the city's Human Relations Commission to mediate a meeting with some residents of the area who are opposed to the project, the Los Angeles Times reports (Cardenas, Los Angeles Times, 4/11). The memorial, titled "The Wall -- Las Memorias," which would commemorate Latinos and non-Latinos who have died of AIDS-related illnesses, would include a rose garden, benches, a walking path, a sculpture and eight wall panels on which the names of those who have died would be listed (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/24). Some opponents last month allegedly "shouted anti-gay sentiments" at a project meeting and distributed fliers that stated "Latino gay men [have] been covertly trying to make a monument to themselves." The flier is signed by the Coalition to Save Lincoln Park, but those distributing the flier did not know who was responsible for the material or who "is behind the coalition." Hugo Pacheco, who distributed the flier at a church six blocks away from the park, said that the memorial "is not a way of introducing [HIV/AIDS] to children. I think it's a very private kind of discussion that parents should have with their children." In a letter sent to Council Member Ed Reyes, Richard Zaldivar, a resident of the area who conceived of the project about ten years ago as an effort to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among Latinos in the community, said, "Let's engage in a positive way. Otherwise we won't be able to create bridges in our community" (Los Angeles Times, 4/11). The project still must receive approval from the mayor, the city attorney and the City Council -- steps that supporters view as formalities. The final approval steps and the construction of the monument must be completed quickly, as the group's $344,000 appropriation from the state's general fund must be spent by June 30 or the funds could be lost (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/24). The City Council is scheduled to discuss the project on Wednesday (Los Angeles Times, 4/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.