Agencia de SIDA Latina Desahuciada por que Clientes Transgéneros Usaban el Baño "Incorrecto"; el ACLU Presenta Demanda
Executive Director, Hispanic AIDS Forum
June 26, 2001
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us today as we take this extraordinary step to seek justice.
HIV/AIDS represents a great challenge to the Latino community. Nationally we represent 11 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 18 percent of the AIDS cases reported to date. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cumulative total of Latinos diagnosed with AIDS is over 131, 698. The cumulative total of deaths of all Latinas/os with AIDS (through December 1999) is 74,396, or 56 percent of the total Latino AIDS cases.
In New York City these statistics become grimmer. While accounting for 24 percent of New York’s population, Latinos represent a disproportionate 31percent of the total cumulative adult and adolescent AIDS cases (35, 557 of 115, 269). In the Borough of Queens, the majority of Latinos living with AIDS are concentrated in West Queens, with Jackson Heights as the epicenter of the disease among this population. West Queens has become an area that has attracted many new immigrants from throughout Latin America.
Some of us will argue that the problem is made worse when bias and prejudice distract us from providing services to the populations most in need. For Latinos in New York and nationally, class issues, race and lifestyles are certainly at the core of the problem.
Case in point, the Hispanic AIDS Forum is seeking legal remedy to blatant discrimination based on gender.
Having evicted HAF from its offices at the Brunson Building in Queens, the Estate of Joseph Bruno makes it clear that existing laws in New York City make it all too easy for landlords to discriminate against those whose physical and emotional make-up does not fit their criteria of what is traditionally acceptable.
In doing so, the Estate of Joseph Bruno has diminished HAF’s ability to provide uninterrupted services to many Latinos who turn to HAF for advocacy, daily support and assistance in coping with the emotional, physical and social ravages of HIV/AIDS.
They have also had a significantly negative effect upon the transgender community, reinforcing the basest of social stigma, denying them of their most basic human needs and requirements, and shaming them for being who they are.
The Hispanic AIDS Forum recognizes that it cannot meet its mission without vigilance to protecting human and civil rights. HIV and AIDS has been more than a medical problem. Bigotry, discrimination, prejudice has made our struggle against the spread HIV a daunting challenge. With this action today HAF reinforces its commitment to fight prejudice and bigotry at all levels. We will not relent until we overcome. Thank you.
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