STORIES Circle Event #4: Bienestar
On June 25, 2022 in Placita de Dolores at the historic El Pueblo, Bienestar Human Services partnered with FAM to co-host the STORIES Circle event Almas Resistentes; Historias de Fortaleza (English translation: Resilient Souls; Stories of Strength).
This event was presented in Spanish. The following event videos include English subtitles:
- Click here to watch the 19-minute video of the event.
- Click here to watch the 4-minute highlight video of the event.
More than 80 participants, the majority from the Latinx community, gathered at the outdoor space in downtown Los Angeles to participate in the STORIES Circle activity, which consisted of one hour of individual storytelling from survivors, activists, caregivers, community organizers, political leaders, and those who lost loved ones.
The event, which was conducted in Spanish with English translation for those who needed it, was funded in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and a grant from the City of Los Angeles’ AIDS Coordinator’s Office.
Bienestar spearheaded many components of the event, including choosing the guest of honor, Octavio Vallejo, M.D., who spoke about his experience with treating HIV and addressing healthcare issues around HIV/AIDS since the early 1990s. A specialist in Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Vallejo came to UCLA as a John Fogarty Fellow to develop new skills in HIVAIDS research and, in the process, emerged as a much-needed link between HIV services and the growing number of infected people in the Latinx population.
From 1994 to 2005, Dr. Vallejo worked at UCLA’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in HIV/AIDS as faculty for the Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center, and from 2005 to 2011, he worked at Gilead Sciences Inc. as Medical Science Liaison. In June 20,11 he joined the team at AIDS Project Los Angeles, while also serving as medical advisor to several community organizations and as a board member of Being Alive Los Angeles.
The lead facilitator for the event was Laura Figeroa, a longtime HIV/AIDS services advocate and educator. For almost 30 years, Figeroa has conducted HIV trainings, both locally and nationally.
Bienestar also arranged for danza Azteca to perform a ceremonial benediction and dance performance.
The mission of the STORIES Circle event series is to build community and foster storytelling among those affected by HIV & AIDS and expand awareness of STORIES: The AIDS Monument. To be notified of FAM’s future STORIES Circle events, please sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter and to receive event notifications.