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Community helps bury woman who died of AIDS

Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest

Many years ago, the Imperial Court de San Diego established the Ben F. Dillingham Fund for special emergency needs. Among those it has helped is an 89-year-old-man whose apartment was totally burnt down (no insurance) and a lesbian mom who had one of her legs cut off. But more than half of the Dillingham Fund goes to help bury men, women and children who have died of AIDS and live below the poverty line.

This past weekend I got a call from The Center about a straight woman who died of AIDS with a daughter. This beloved woman was a client of Christie’s Place which is a wonderful HIV/AIDS organization for women and their children. Christie’s Place has been supported by our community and the Imperial Court since they were established many years ago.

This woman is among more than two dozen people who have died of AIDS in San Diego that the Ben F. Dillingham III Fund has buried through the Imperial Court de San Diego with the requests and paperwork being done by The Center, Family Matters and Christie’s Place.

Can you imagine in that final last dignity of burial having no finances put aside for even a cremation. So I write this column not only to educate you of the ongoing toll AIDS continues to take in our city, indeed the world, but to most sincerely thank you all for your continued support of the benefits and fundraisers of the Imperial Court and the Dillingham Grant. Also to thank the hardworking people of our LGBT Center, Family Matters, Christie’s Place, Being Alive etc., and all AIDS organizations for the great work they have been doing for so many decades.

AIDS Memorial Task Force

Many of you have been asking about the status of the mayor’s AIDS Memorial Task Force. As you know, this was announced just a few months ago to look into getting San Diego to join other cities in dedicating an AIDS memorial in memory of the almost 13,000 San Diegans who have died of HIV/AIDS. A few weeks ago I met with the first lady of San Diego, Katherine Faulconer who is the co-chair of the Task Force. In the next month the mayor’s office will be sending out information and a public call for those interested in serving on the Task Force (every HIV/AIDS organization and agency will also be contacted).

The membership of the AIDS Memorial Task Force will be announced in February and the first gala fundraiser for the AIDS memorial will be March 26 at the North Park Theatre – the official kickoff event.

For more information on the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force contact Rich Reyes at the office of the mayor, 619-236-6982.

The Imitation Game: A must-see movie

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

I urge you all, your friends, family and everyone to see the recently released movie The Imitation Game, now playing at the Hillcrest cinema. It is about the life of World War II hero Alan Turing, a British gay man who helped end the war by two years and saved 14 million lives, only to be rewarded by being arrested for being a homosexual. Well, I won’t tell you the whole story but I most strongly urge you to see this movie and tell all your friends to see it too.

By the way, there is much Oscar buzz for this film and it has already been nominated for Golden Globes. Indeed, it is one of the best movies ever!



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Posted by on Dec 31, 2014. Filed under Bottom Highlights, Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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