by Pedro Mercado, VidaSIDA
On Friday, June 17 th 2016 – Vida/SIDA will celebrate our 9th annual Coronation of the Paseo Boricua Cacica Queen. This years queen will be Cynthia Lee Fontaine! Fontaine was a contestant on the current season of Rupaul’s Drag Race. She is a great representation of the current image of female impersonation. The Puerto Rican native will be present along with many of Chicago’s finest talent! Save the date! You don’t want to miss this spectacular night!
Friday, April 21st, while Puerto Ricans were meeting with Puerto Rico community leaders in the nonprofit and government sector, along with stateside elected officials, TransLatin@ Coalition leaders were mobilizing in Los Angeles and Hollywood, CA, Atlanta, GA, New York, New Jersey and Chicago, IL with representation from MN, to bring affirming attention to the translatin@ community. “Embrace me I am Trans,” is a campaign to bring attention to continued violence exercised against transpeople in society. It is an exercise to demand that society embrace the trans community as a whole. TransLatin@ made signs interchanging pink and blue letters encouraging passerby to hug them.
Maritxa Vidal, Midwest Regional Director of TransLatin@, Maya Lozano and Minnesota chapter representative Renata Garcia were among the twelve members of TransLatin@ that organized with numerous allies to encourage cisgender (those living in the gender their bodies ‘represent’) Chicagoans to show their support. After hugging a member of TransLatin@, each supporter was invited to fill out a sheet expressing why they supported the transcommunity. With responses like “they’re just like me,” “being yourself is always the best way to be,” and “i love all life,” supporters’ solidarity privileges their right to live as they choose just like allies themselves do.
The work of TransLatin@ Coalition will continue to bring attention to the struggle of transcommunity members until they are treated with the right to human dignity and the right to determine how they choose to identify in the world. You can follow them on twitter @translatina_c or the hashtag #embracemeiamtrans. You can also find Chicago’s chapter at Translatina-Chicago.
by Gustavo Varela
We are happy to be relaunching Generation L, our Mpowerment program for LGBTQ youth, as part of a new grant we received, the L-Act. We will be having our first safer sex workshop of the new fiscal year on Wednesday March 30th, 2016 from 5pm to 8pm at the L-ACT office located at 2736 W. Division St.All youth are welcomed to attend the workshop but only those who qualify will receive the $20 Target gift cards as incentive for attending. In order to qualify, the youth must be between the ages of 13 through 24, gay or bisexual man, or a transgender woman, and must identify as Latino/a. This is intended to be a fun workshop that is youth friendly in a safe space.
Any questions contact Gustavo Varela or Pedro Mercado at Vida/SIDA or call 773-278-6737
by Anthony DeJesús, Integrated Paseo, PRCC
United and undivided is what is necessary for minority communities to prosper, flourish, and succeed. There are many afflictions that affect minority communities in this day and age. The prevalence of theHuman Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is one, substance abuse another, and the lack of hope for a better future. There are programs that exist for the purpose of helping individuals overcome these adversities. Integrated PASEO, A Puerto Rican Cultural Center program, is such a program. Integrated PASEO visited Rincon Family Services to provide free HIV and Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV) screening, testing, and referrals for treatment as well as prevention, education, and care services. The Integrated PASEO program collaborates with many communities and organizations to increase awareness and provide services.
Another collaboration, in which Integrated PASEO participates, is with the Garfield Park Community Center on weekdays, Monday through Friday at anytime between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM. Through this collaboration, individuals can receive free HIV and HCV testing and screening, free harm reduction kits, free female and male condoms, and free packages of lubrication.
Integrated PASEO is housed at Norwegian American Hospital. Every weekday, Monday through Fridayat anytime between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Integrated PASEO offers FREE testing to individuals for HIV, HCV, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s). For those who screen positive, a FREE referral is made for treatment; any individual who screens positive for substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are allowed to participate in the FREE “Seeking Safety” Counseling Program.
by Erika Abad, Puerto Rican Cultural Center
In the midst of personal struggle and continued efforts to advocate for TransLatin@ activists, Maritxa Vidal was named an Honorary Global Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations. On behalf of the United Nations, Dr. Clyde Rivers has been traveling for 25 years as a Goodwill Ambassador. Five years ago, he started this award, naming 25 Global Goodwill Ambassadors a year. This honor reflects Maritxa’s lifelong commitment to the transgender, lesbian, bisexual community, along with the work she has done in HIV testing, prevention and counseling.
The Puerto Rican Cultural Center Vida SIDA have seen her develop as an advocate for LGBT community members here in our community as well as for her national work with TransLatin@ Coalition. Whether mentoring young translatinas trying to find their place in the city, talking with allies about the needs of TransLatin@s, Vidal advocates for the needs of LGBT Latinxs across the city and the country. The PRCC is proud of her lifelong commitment to our community and is also thrilled that the United Nations goodwill branch has recognized her for all the work she has done.
by Pedro Mercado, VidaSIDA
This past weekend, PRCC-Vida/SIDA’s very own Pedro Mercado, Milani (Gustavo Varela), Maya Lozano, & Maritxa Vidal, were able to represent PRCC at the annual Creating Change Conference. Being the largest LGBTQ conference in the United states, Vida/SIDA was honored to work along with Union=Fuerza Latino Institute as a community partner. They spoke with community leaders from all across the country that attended the Conference. Dialogues took place regarding the work being implemented in the Latin@ Community of Chicago. By engaging in workshops, seminars, and plenaries, our staff will be able to implement new strategies to the programs at PRCC-Vida/SIDA. They were also able to network with other activists and have been invited to participate in other conferences and trainings. The conference is scheduled to take place next year in Philadelph