AIDS Activist Thomas DeLorenzo Speaks on World AIDS Day at Univ. of Richmond
Los Angeles AIDS Activist Thomas DeLorenzo will be speaking on World Aids Day today at 12p.m. at the University of Richmond School of Law, Commons, at an event that is free & open to the public.
DeLorenzo wears many hats: AIDS activist, entertainment publicist, Huffington Post Blogger, health care advocate, and future law student. A longtime AIDS survivor, DeLorenzo uses his personal experience to promote AIDS awareness and support across the country. He has been recognized by the New York Times as one of the five Unsung Heroes in the Battle Against HIV/AIDS.
As part of the Annual World AIDS Day Celebration, DeLorenzo is speaking to University of Richmond students, faculty and the community about how his struggles with AIDS have transformed him into a person on a mission. He is discussing the roadblocks that have often prevented him from following his dreams, and how being a person with a “disability” (in the eyes of the medical and legal communities) has limited his opportunities.
You might question that last statement but I have known Thom a long time and I was there as he “walked the miles” to get into law school and tried so very hard to find a way to make his dream come true. This year he was admitted to the University of Richmond School of Law and could not attend because of the health insurance issues which he discusses in this Huffington Post article. Richmond Law School continues to work with Thom in his efforts to attend law school– and I hope they pull strings within the law school community to get the admissions people and the administration that having people with disabilities– even those disabilities that are not visible– adds to the value of their program and the quality of the education that their students are getting. Because once those students are lawyers, they will be dealing with people who have disabilities– including those with narrow minds and limited vision. It’s important to make sure that the attorneys of tomorrow have that broader perspective and wider vision and greater faith that justice and truth can prevail. (Yes I sound odd– but if the justice system of this democratic country can’t provide that, then what is the Cconstitution and why aren’t we making it a living breathing document rather than a piece of historical paper. Soapbox now closed)
“Having the ability to make a positive impact on even one person in one’s lifetime makes a life worth living. Thom is making a positive impact daily on many by setting an example for those with AIDS (and without), by living fully without fear, pursuing his dreams and never ever giving up. He lights up the world,” said Michelle Rahman, Associate Dean for Admissions at the University of Richmond School of Law.
Jennifer Huer, Richmond Law student and President of the Law School’s Equality Alliance says, “As future lawyers, it is important to understand the many ways in which we will interact with people. So often, you look at a person and think you understand what they are going through; but you have no idea the depth of their struggles and adversity. Hopefully, a discussion with Thom will give our students a moment to reflect on the ways in which they can use their voices to promote change within our legal system. Every one of us has the potential to create positive change in our communities and world. Thom is a wonderful example of someone who turned a bad situation into a means of speaking and fighting for others.”
DeLorenzo is on the Board of Directors of AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition and the Board of Advisors of Volunteer Positive. His work with Planned Parenthood has led him across the country to meet with U.S. Senators to help reform women’s health care. His visit is cosponsored by the Law School’s Equality Alliance, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, SPEAK, Black Law Students Association, Public Interest Law Association, and the Office of Common Ground.
Let’s hope that his talk today resonates with law schools across the country. I hope someone is smart enough to video-tape it because it should be on youtube.com. Those of us who are lucky to call Thom DeLorenzo friend wish him well, a law school that will admit him and provide him health care and a long fulfilling career and life.
Stevie Wilson, LA-Story.com
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