National AIDS Memorial Announces Pedro Zamora 2022-2023


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Nov. 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National AIDS Memorial announced its 2022/2023 Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholars, its largest and most diverse class to date, offering $5,000 scholarships $ to 17 students attending 16 universities and educational institutions across the country.

This month marks the 28th anniversary of the death of Pedro Zamora from AIDS-related complications. The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Fellowship honors his legacy as an AIDS educator and advocate against stigma and prejudice. The program brings recognition and visibility to exceptional young people by supporting their higher education efforts and who, like Pedro, are having a profound impact on advancing health and social justice issues.

“This scholarship supports young people who demonstrate a passion for health and social justice and who use their voice for advocacy and change, said John Cunningham, CEO of the National AIDS Memorial. “These students carry the torch of Pedro, pursuing careers and work that will have a positive impact. Their optimism, action and commitment give so much hope for the future.

The 2022-2023 scholars are drawn from colleges and universities in ten states and the District of Columbia. More than 40% are the first members of their family to attend university; 41% are Black/African American; 35% are Hispanic/Latin; and 12% are Asian American/Pacific Islander. They understand:

California: Thuan-Huong Doan, UCLA; Karen Gallegos Estrada, UC-Santa Cruz; Esmeralda Yzguerra, University of Southern California. District of Colombia: Salihah Aakil Bey, Howard University; Isabella Igbanugo, American University; Edwin Santos, American University. Florida: Kaysyn Jones, Florida State University. Maryland: Ijeoma Okoro, University of Maryland. New York: Kathleen Hoang, Columbia University. North Carolina: Leo Sanabria, Duke University. Pennsylvania: Dayana Henderson, Pennsylvania State University. Rhode Island: Elizabeth Soyemi, Brown University. Caroline from the south: Jillian Gray, College of Charleston; Darby Porter, University of South Carolina. Texas: Lesly Chávez-Valencia, University of Texas, Austin; Areli Rosales, University of Texas, San Antonio. Virginia: Maryann Nwude, Virginia Tech University

Dayana Henderson, one of the scholars at Penn State University, spoke about Pedro’s work in her candidacy, saying, “For Pedro to be diagnosed at the age of 17, and rather than being mad at the world or embarrassed by his diagnosis, he used it. to educate and advocate. He wasn’t afraid to talk about his sexuality, his status or being an activist. This should be a lesson for all of us. I want to eradicate the stigma, fear, exclusion, discrimination and hatred surrounding HIV/AIDS, and free those who have lived in the shadow of shame.

Awarded annually, the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Fellowship is funded through major support provided by Gilead Sciences and individual donors. Since its inception in 2009, the program has provided nearly $500,000 in support to 129 students.

“This is a truly incredible class of Pedro scholars, each making an impact on their campus and in the community for a better and more equitable future,” said Alex Kalomparis, senior vice president of Gilead Sciences. “Gilead is proud to support this important program that develops the next generation of leaders in Pedro’s honor in the fight to end HIV through action and advocacy.

According to scholar Pedro Salihah Aakil Bey, “I aspire for my art to be the kind of safe space that [HIV/AIDS] activists did. A place that teaches words to talk about our lives, love to remind us that we matter and beauty to remind us to smile. I want to tell the stories of my people, Black, Muslim, American, and in doing so, let us know and show all that we have overcome, the music that we have made, the love that we have brought, and to show that our story is America.

This year’s winners are making a big difference as young leaders working on issues ranging from HIV/AIDS, arts and community development, mental health, rights of undocumented and migrant communities, equity in race- and gender-based healthcare, LGBTQ+ activism, Islamophobia, algorithm bias, criminal justice, domestic violence and human rights.

The application process for the Fall 2023/Spring 2024 school year opens March 1, 2023. Details about the program, including a newly created video about the program, can be found at Applicants must demonstrate how they provide service and/or leadership in efforts to end HIV or help people living with it; fight against stigma, denial, racism and hatred; and how their education, career plans, or public service will help advance social justice.

About the National AIDS Memorial

The mission of the National AIDS Memorial is to share the story of the fight against HIV/AIDS and to remember in perpetuity the lives lost, to offer healing and hope to survivors and to inspire new generations of activists in the fight against stigma, denial and hatred. for a just future. Through the National AIDS Memorial Grove, the AIDS Memorial Quilt and other community programs across the country, the National AIDS Memorial ensures that the history of AIDS and the AIDS movement is never forgotten and raises the issues of health and social justice today to help them heal, remember, prosper and continue to work for a just and equitable future. Learn more about


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