Los Angeles City Council Approves Lincoln Park AIDS Memorial Project
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved 10-0 the construction of an AIDS memorial in Lincoln Park in northeast Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ramos, Los Angeles Times, 4/23). 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. Some opponents last month allegedly shouted anti-gay statements at a project meeting and distributed fliers stating, "Latino gay men [have] been covertly trying to make a monument to themselves." The flier was signed by the Coalition to Save Lincoln Park, but those distributing the flier did not know who was responsible for the material or who was involved in the coalition (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/14). Although more than 100 people attended Tuesday's meeting, each side was given only five minutes to address the council, the Times reports. Lincoln Heights resident Robert Vega, who opposes the memorial, said that he has collected 1,000 signatures from people who oppose the project. "There's been no outreach," he said, adding, "We want to keep the park as it is." Another opponent said that other illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, deserved more public attention than AIDS, according to the Times. Richard Zaldivar, an AIDS advocate and area resident who thought of the project about 10 years ago as an effort to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among Latinos in the community, said that "many" residents knew of the project, adding that some "Latinos do not want to talk about AIDS," according to the Times. Council member Nate Holden said, "(AIDS) Won't go away. It is what it is" (Los Angeles Times, 4/23). 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, 4/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.