Last weekend, the second convening of the Gran Varones Positive Digital Arts Fellowship took place in Washington, DC. Since the start of the fellowship, varones from six different cities and just as many states, organized events, held community get-togethers and created digital content that amplified the experiences of Latinx folks living with HIV.
This project has been an absolute dream come true. To create a space where six Latinx folks living with HIV are centered – our art, our ideas and our stories. This is what building a legacy that will forever stand can look like.
Our legacy is already in motion. The moment we decided to not live completely in the shadows of shame, our legacy began. We are part of a movement started by many who gave their lives because they knew that this epidemic would one day come to an end. Our legacy is to pick up the baton left by those no longer here so that we may continue this work. This is legacy work. To change the part of the planet we occupy in all of the ways that we can so that when we pass the baton to those walking behind and along side us.
Building power is legacy work. Aces, Mathew, Raul, José, Marcos, Dimitri, Carlos and Armonté are building a world where our stories will live forever. And I couldn’t be more grateful to work along side with these visionaries. There love, generosity and commitment reminds of this excerpt from the late great writer and ACT-UP activist Vito Russo’s 1988 “Why We Fight” speech:
“Someday, the AIDS crisis will be over. Remember that. And when that day comes — when that day has come and gone, there’ll be people alive on this earth — gay people and straight people, men and women, black and white, who will hear the story that once there was a terrible disease in this country and all over the world, and that a brave group of people stood up and fought and, in some cases, gave their lives, so that other people might live and be free.”