By Kevin Jennings, Chief Executive Officer
Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings today issued this statement following the passing of pioneering HIV activist and LGBT civil rights icon Larry Kramer:
“Lambda Legal—its staff and community of advocates for LGBT rights and everyone living with HIV—deeply mourn the passing of Larry Kramer, who fought tirelessly throughout his life to focus resources on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to eradicate the stigma of living with HIV, changing forever the landscape of activism, the LGBT civil rights movement, and the lives of people living with HIV worldwide. Larry Kramer has been an endless source of inspiration to our lawyers and our work to help end the HIV epidemic. We owe Larry Kramer an immeasurable debt of gratitude for teaching us how to stand up and fight back, how to survive a plague and how to channel our anger into direct action for social change.
“Larry Kramer founded and helped lead Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), an organization critical to providing life-saving services to people with AIDS at a time when our government had turned its back on the dying. Larry then turned his anger into helping create ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power), the groundbreaking AIDS activist group that used creative, nonviolent civil disobedience to reshape the dynamics of the epidemic itself.
“We are facing again a federal government that does not care about LGBT people, people living with HIV or communities of color. Kramer’s passing should serve as a wake-up call and a reminder that righteous anger is an appropriate response when the powers that be fail in their duty to serve all citizens equally and fairly, and we should continue to channel that energy into action until we have won the fight for fully equitable and fair treatment in law, medicine, and society.”