State Senator José M. Serrano commemorated World AIDS Day at a community forum he sponsored in East Harlem. The event, held in the beautiful Poet's Den Theater, featured community leaders and advocates in the field. It ended with performances by local spoken word artists, who infused great energy and eloquence into the day's message of combating the epidemic.
The Senator, who was called away on important business in the capital region, expressed thanks to Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, who delivered the event's keynote address. Said the Senator: "We are making tremendous strides to combat HIV/AIDS in East Harlem, but we have so much yet to fight for in terms of prevention and an ultimate cure. I am proud to stand with Borough President Stringer in this fight."
Other speakers included: Tamara L. Miller, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Deputy Director in the Office for Civil Rights; Ingrid Floyd, Executive Director of Iris House; and Martin Orduña, Director of the Manhattan HIV Care Network. All three organizations co-sponsored the event with the Senator's Office.
The day closed with poetry and spoken word from three talented members of the El Grito de Poetas ensemble. Their work touched on issues relating to prejudice, sexual identity, prevention, and the celebration of life. El Grito poets will next perform at the Dec. 20 "Urban Word" teen open mic at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.