A Great Loss to our World and the AIDS Movement

Statement on the passing of Elizabeth Taylor

By Richard L. Zaldivar
Published on LatinoLA: March 23, 2011

A Great Loss to our World and the AIDS Movement

The passing of Elizabeth Taylor is a great loss to our world and the AIDS movement. There will never be someone like her in the fight against AIDS. Elizabeth Taylor was the first great actress to fight on behalf of the AIDS movement and brought the illness from a taboo to a reality. She was our leading advocate and became one of the world's most celebrated activists. She is leaving a great legacy for us all and a new challenge to fight AIDS for this new generation.

It was her close friend and actor Rock Hudson, who succumbed to AIDS, which electrified her spirit to fight the deadly disease and the injustices that contributed to the spread of it.

A few years ago, I heard her speak at the Macy's Passport. She came out onto the stage in a wheel chair; she was radiant and beautiful as ever. What was more memorable, was her passionate and moving speech about the fight against HIV/AIDS and how there was so much more to do. She brought me and the audience to tears. She advanced the discussion about HIV/AIDS tremendously.

At the time of the AIDS Monument dedication, it was Elizabeth Taylor who requested the name of her loving friend Rock Hudson to be placed on the memorial. The monument is a place where we can remember the lives of our loved ones lost to AIDS.

The AIDS monument also provides an opportunity to renew our spirit to fight the bigotry, stigma and homophobia that contributes to the illness.

So, let the passing of this great icon of our time remind us of our responsibility to the war on HIV and AIDS; and signify a rebirth to our shared dedication and activism to end AIDS.

About Richard L. Zaldivar:
Richard L. Zaldivar, founder/president of The Wall Las Memorias Project
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