Here in San Diego, more than 18,000 people are currently living with HIV, and across the US that number is closer to 1.1 million. We have come a long way in combating the HIV virus, increasing public health education, and fighting the stigma around HIV, but there is still much work to do. Our strongest community partner in that work, leading the efforts in our region, is The San Diego LGBT Community Center.
Over the years, Pride has been a funder of The Center’s incredible work, provided free Pride Festival tickets to incentivize their HIV testing efforts, and Pride’s all-volunteer Festival Production Team leadership has given their time and expertise to their AIDS Walk & Run San Diego event. San Diego Pride was even The Center’s first community partner when they began the #BeTheGeneration public education campaign as they champion the effort for us to be the generation that gets to zero new HIV transmissions. The Center’s work is truly inspiring, and we’re proud to have to the opportunity to partner with them in this work.
Today is a day that each of us can partner in that work! It’s Dining Out for Life® San Diego Day! More than 75 local restaurants, coffee shops, and bars will be donating 25% or more of their sales to support HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs at The San Diego LGBT Community Center. Today, the simple act of dining out will help fund the ongoing efforts to free us from an epidemic that took far too many from us far too soon. I hope you’ll grab some friends, family, and join us all today in dining out as a way to take part in this Legacy of Liberation.
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made him a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.