It is hard to imagine that such a big personality is gone … I first met Gerardo over 10 years ago in the course of doing volunteer work in the LGBT community. Over the past 2-1/2 years I had the fortune to get to know him closely through our work at Rape Victim Advocates, and the long hours we spent taking numerous road trips to and from Springfield as we did statewide sexual assault coalition work.
Gerardo is and will be terribly missed by his fellow staff and the volunteers in the RVA family. His was a voice of strength and reason through the grind and drama of 24/7 crisis work. No doubt about it, Gerardo contributed to the field of sexual violence services and prevention in significant ways—he was an exceptionally skilled educator and spoke the many languages of our diverse, targeted audience. And as a champion of oppression and privilege training, he implored people to just do the right thing. I admired his ability to expect (and sometimes demand) the best of people long after I would lose energy and give up. But above and beyond, we are going to really miss the little things we came to associate with Gerardo—his welcoming attitude, his love of gadgets, pop Divas and Pikachu, our shopping trips to Ikea and Cost Co, and the chocolate-filled stress drawer.
As a very vocal advocate for the under-represented, Gerardo recently complained to me that he was often frustrated that people would role their eyes or 'tune out' when he'd begin to speak during meetings. He expressed the wish that people would hear the message and not just the messenger. For certain, quite a few meetings around town will be shorter now, but I doubt they'll be as challenging and meaningful.
Vicky DiProva , Executive Director, Rape Victim Advocates