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Friday, May 8, 2015

VIVA~week 6

VIVA was a strong organization in Los Angeles during the three decades it lasted. As I read through the sections telling of VIVA's commitment to supporting LGBT+ folxs deal with the AIDS epidemic, I just remember Dan Guerrero sitting in our class and telling us about how difficult it was to know that at any time, it could be you that died from the foreign disease. It was a time when the HIV diagnosis was a terminal sentence to an excruciating death, and the art and community that VIVA fostered in such a dark time for most was beautiful to read about. Their work was very extensive, but when funding became unbearingly scarce and the activist burnout hit, the group disbanded.

The name of the group VIVA to me was very interesting because I'm taking a class right now about women's movements in Latin America, and one question that Guatemalan LGBT activists had to answer through the building of a community and resources during the AIDS epidemic was Why Live? The situations in Latin American countries were destitute because of poverty from extreme foreign debt. There were wars tearing everyone apart. The question in America then became how do we support each other through this fear and loss, but also celebrate the life we get to live out for as long as we get to live it.

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