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Hastings introduces resolution commemorating AIDS activist Pedro Zamora; Ros-Lehtinen a co-sponsor

News release from U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings:

Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) introduced a resolution commemorating the life and legacy of Pedro Zamora.  Zamora, a Cuban American gay man was living in Miami, FL when he became infected with HIV at the age of 17.  He was an AIDS activist for several years before he sent a letter to MTV’s The Real World.  Zamora was cast for “The Real World: San Francisco” in 1994 and died of AIDS the day after the season ended.

“Pedro put a face on this deadly disease that far too often has been hidden in the shadows.  The unfortunate fact remains that HIV/AIDS has become one of the most serious global health concerns in modern history and has spread to every continent, infecting and affecting people across all lines of race, class, religion, and sexual orientation,” said Hastings.

“Sadly, a quarter of HIV/AIDS-infected persons are unaware of their status and less than 30% of HIV-infected persons receive anti-retroviral treatment.  Latino’s and blacks are still disproportionately contracting and dying from AIDS.  My home state of Florida has consistently ranked third in the nation in the number of cases of HIV/AIDS.  And, the majority of infected persons reside in South Florida, which also has the highest concentration of uninsured people in the state.

“During his testimony before Congress in 1994, 22 year-old Zamora said, “What we need is the collective will to care about young people and about people with different backgrounds and make sure that one day people grow up in a world without AIDS.”  Pedro’s words are timeless and challenge us to be diligent in our efforts to stop HIV/AIDS, and the disease of intolerance in this country.  I commend MTV, director Nick Oceano, and screenplay writer Dustin Lance Black for bringing the face of Pedro into homes all across this nation in hopes of bringing greater public awareness to this deadly disease.”

Tonight, MTV Networks, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Bunim/Murray Productions will hold an advance screening of Pedro: A Celebration of the Courageous Life of Pedro Zamora.  A reception will be held on the 1st Floor of Madison Hall in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress starting at 6:00 PM.  The film will be screened in the Pickford Theater on the 3rd floor at 7:15 PM.  Hastings will give opening remarks on his resolution prior to the screening between 6:45-7:15 PM. 

Joining Hastings as original co-sponsors of the resolution include, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Barney Frank (D-MA), Donna Christensen (D-VI), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Jared Polis (D-CO), Diane Watson (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Corrine Brown (D-FL) and Barbara Lee (D-CA). 

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings is Vice Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a senior member of the House Rules Committee, and Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

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Thank you for doing this for pedro, and all of us who are living with this disease. I have been positive now for 10 years, and I do think Mr. Zamora deserves a memorial for being one of the first to talk truth to power, especially with the courage to talk to young people. Thank you!

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