WeHo Councilmembers Duran, D’Amico at Work on Building National AIDS Monument

world-aids-day-SLIDER

The West Hollywood City Council told city staff to pick potential sites for a national AIDS monument at its Monday night meeting.

The monument would commemorate the lives lost to AIDS and honor those allies who fought against the disease. Councilmembers John Duran and John D’Amico, both HIV positive, authored the item, noting that West Hollywood has been at the center of the AIDS epidemic since the early 1980s.

“It is an important and vital part of how we made it to where we are,” D’Amico said. “It’s my hope that this monument helps create a space that talks about how we present ourselves to the world. It will be a place of public discussion and a real platform for making change.”

Duran said the city and businesses would work together to create the memorial.

“We are at the very beginning of something that has been banded about for a very long period of time,” said Duran.

The eight people speaking during public comment were all in favor of the monument.

“The time is now,” said resident/activist Ivy Bottini, who organized HIV forums in the 1980s. “We cannot not do this.”

Craig Dougherty said a monument will educate young people who don’t know the history of the AIDS epidemic.

“The struggle to save lives compelled us to organize politically,” Dougherty said.

Ruth Tittle, owner of Capital Drugs, said her brother, Loyd, who died of AIDS, moved to West Hollywood in 1978 to find a new family, like so many other gay men who were rejected by their biological families.

“We’re their family, this city is their family,” Tittle said. “We owe it to them. What better for their honor than to have their lives mean something in educating others.”

0 0 vote
Article Rating

7 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Keesey
David Keesey
7 years ago

There are some excellent points here. Constructive discussion is good, as it gets the creative juices flowing. As I had mentioned earlier on, the council members need to come together with Richard and Eddie to help empower this discussion of an AIDS Monument. Having one central location for an AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park should be a consideration. The memorial is at a beautiful historical setting that already incorporates all ethnic backgrounds. Lincoln Park has ample room for expansion to incorporate names from all over the world. Jeff Prang, who is the Mayor of West Hollywood is on their board,… Read more »

David Keesey
David Keesey
7 years ago

I agree, this is a long overdue memorial for those lost to AIDS. I invite you to contact Richard Zaldivar from “The Wall Las Memorias Project” for his input on building such a monument. After all, Richard’s vision was to create an AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park for those lost to AIDS as well as an inspirational tool to educate the community about cultural denial and HIV/AIDS as well as to promote social activism and a health living. It wasn’t an easy project, however, with Richard’s passion and years of love, sweat and tears it was erected. Richard’s heartfelt words… Read more »

voolavex
7 years ago
Reply to  David Keesey

Thanks to David Keesy for his comment and very fine input. A memorial such as this must exceed excellence and define the entire long, dark season of this epidemic that cost so many lives and broke so many hearts. I have been in Los Angeles and later West Hollywood since “Gay Cancer” began – all the way back to MECLA and the doctors and citizens who worked so hard to rid us of this demon. As David said – a memorial such as the one proposed in WeHo should also touch the heart forever and bring love and respect to… Read more »

Eddie Martinez
7 years ago

I hope people know their is an AIDS monument at Lincoln Park (Los Angeles). May not be in West Hollywood and it does have a Latino focus to it but its local. Do we need two monuments in the county? What makes this monument national?

voolavex
7 years ago
Reply to  Eddie Martinez

Because West Hollywood has been a refuge and home for the Gay Community for so many years – a memorial here is appropriate. Why not two? Why define it by being Latina or national – but simply an honor for those loved and lost and to raise awareness. And for those who came to our city when so many others – people and places shut their doors.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Long overdue idea. So many lost, so much pain, yet so much political and medical history to celebrate. Not just a memorial but a tribute and museum. We need our stories recorded and told. It is time while some of us still are around to share them.

voolavex
7 years ago

A WeHo AIDS Memorial is something I very much believe should be created. I go all the way back before MECLA. It seems an appropriate city for such a memorial. I think it should sit at the western city limits on the median at Doheny. I suggest the names of the lost be engraved and a water feature included to help us remember the tears shed for those we lost. I think mention of the others in the wolrd – perhaps by their numbers also be included. I am not sure how it should or will be funded – remembering… Read more »