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  EN LA VIDA

Heather Imrie remembers
2003-08-01

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How can you describe Gerardo in just a few paragraphs? It is hard to describe the impact Gerardo had on our lives. He was such a distinct individual; I don't know that I have ever met anyone quite like him or if I will ever again. When I first started writing this I found myself giving a detailed account of how we got to know each other. I soon realized that that would not really tell anyone what it was like to know Gerardo. Gerardo challenged you to be a better version of yourself. To not just talk about your politics and what you believe but to really do something about them. He was the epitome of the saying 'The personal is political.'

There are so many stories about how he made the personal political. Here's one: people who knew Gerardo know he was passionate about issues surrounding

accessibility and people with disabilities. A few years ago he noticed that a downtown location of the Corner Bakery was inaccessible to many people with

disabilities. Rather than grumble privately about this, he let them know how he felt. He started a letter-writing campaign to get them to make their downtown location accessible. Eventually the Corner Bakery complied.

He was so proud of both his Mexican and Queer communities. He worked tirelessly to educate people about diversity within and outside his communities. He marched in the Mexican Independence day parade as a proud Gay man and promoted diversity and inclusion as a proud Mexican man in the LBGT community. This year he again organized his annual Bears of Color Coffee for Bear Pride weekend; a social event that promoted discussion and community for Men of Color in the Bear & BGT community. He spoke several times at the University of Illinois @ Chicago about issues of diversity & bias. He was a wonderful (and always very popular) public speaker; his workshops always generated thoughtful and lively discussion. Even if people disagreed with what Gerardo was saying, they always respected him and considered his comments carefully.

We lost an incredible leader, teacher, mentor and friend when we lost Gerardo.

A quien Dios quiere para si, poco tiempo lo tiene aqui (Those whom the gods love die young)

— Heather Imrie, a colleague


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