Chicago, IL —
Daniel Sotomayor, a syndicated political cartoonist and vocal AIDS activist, was remembered on Saturday during a stirring anniversary commemoration at the Center on Halsted.
Daniel Sotomayor confronts Mayor Richard M. Daley
In an event hosted by Lori Cannon and Victor Salvo, Sotomayor was remembered through selected photographs, artwork and mementos that celebrated his life and his activism in Chicago.
Salvo, who is the founder and executive director for The Legacy Walk, noted the list of guest speakers as a who's who in Chicago's LGBT community and a "testament to Sotomayor's influence and legacy."
Those speaking at the event included: Kit Duffy, Mayor Harold Washington's liaison to the LGBT community; Helen Shiller, former Alderman of the 46th Ward; Art Johnston, community leader and co-founder of Equality Illinois; Tracy Baim, executive editor of the Windy City Times; Gabriel Gomez, who was in Act-UP with Sotomayor; Rick Garcia, long-time community activist and Salvo.
Shiller spoke about the speed with which the city tripled AIDS spending, which she attributed to Sotomayor's tenacity. Duffy said Sotomayor had an " intuitive understanding of power and politics."
Salvo, who knew Sotomayor before he sero-converted and became an activist, talked about how how Sotomayor's anger at having his dream of being a successful graphic artist ripped away only fueled his activism so he could make the most out of the time he had left.
His political cartoons about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues - primarily related to AIDS activism - were widely published in the gay press, including the Windy City Times in Chicago, The Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco and OutWeek in New York.
Sotomayor was a member of the Chicago chapter of ACT UP. He became widely known for his public confrontations with Mayor Richard M. Daley to bring attention the the AIDS crisis.
Born on August 30, 1958, Sotomayor, who was of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, grew up in the Humbolt Park neighborhood of Chicago. He was a graduate of Columbia College and the American Academy of Art, both in Chicago.
Sotomayor was posthumously inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1992. He was remembered as a leader who left his "indelible mark on the AIDS movement."