Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Longtime Chicago LGBTQ, HIV/AIDS activist Roman Buenrostro dies
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2021-03-28

This article shared 2492 times since Sun Mar 28, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Longtime Chicago LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS activist Roman Buenrostro died March 25 due to complications from cancer. He was 54.

Buenrostro was born Jan. 18, 1967 in Chicago. When his father retired, the family moved to Southern California, where the younger Buenrostro graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara. After his college graduation, Buenrostro moved back to Chicago and immediately got involved in social-justice causes.

Buenrostro's activism began as a STOP AIDS Chicago volunteer in 1989, educating the community about HIV/AIDS prevention. He also co-founded Association of Latino/as Motivating Action (ALMA) that same year. One of Buenrostro's focuses at ALMA was campaigns that focused on communities most impacted by HIV.

This activism grew to include volunteering at Horizons Community Services (now Center on Halsted) as one of the organization's HelpLine counselors. This led to his role as the HelpLine supervisor. He did that volunteer work for 10 years. Buenrostro was also a member of the Chicago Area HIV Integrated Services Council and in 2015 was elected as an out HIV-positive community co-chair.

While Buenrostro was doing his volunteer activism he also worked at Erie Family Health on North Avenue, where he ran a Spanish-speaking HIV gay, bisexual and questioning men's support group among other jobs.

Buenrostro went to work at AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) in 1998 and worked in various capacities over the years. He played an integral role in shaping the coordinated HIV case management system for the Chicago metropolitan area. His most recent job at AFC was Director of Special Projects and it was in that role that he created and implemented the HIV Resource Hub to assist people in need of rent, utility and other financial assistance. Last year, Buenrostro's efforts led to 412 people getting that vital help; the needs were mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixteen years ago, Buenrostro met Daniel Skelton out at a bar in Lakeview. They were together every day since that first meeting. They were married Dec. 23, 2016 at Chicago's City Hall, with some close family members and friends as witnesses.

In 2016, Buenrostro was inducted into Chicago's LGBT Hall of Fame. Other accolades included the Health Resources and Service Administration's Part-A-Hank Carde Award in 2000 and a commendation from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2019.

Buenrostro is survived by Skelton; his mother Evangelina; brothers Joe, Hector, Tony, Javier, Alex and Freddy; sisters Jenny, Rosa and Connie; many nieces and nephews and countless chosen family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his father Roman Sr. and sister Lupita.

"Roman was an activist who was never afraid to say what was on his mind, he was a friend to many, and he was a chosen family member to so many of us," said ALMA board President Julio Rodriguez in an email to ALMA members and supporters. "We owe tremendous amount of gratitude to Roman. Our community would not be where we are today if it was not for Roman's tireless work. Roman and I started organizing in the late '80s as the HIV epidemic began to hit our communities hard. Because there was little attention to the Latino community, he and a group of other gay Latino men, founded ALMA.

"I can go on about all the great things that Roman accomplished during his life. But to me, he was more than just a colleague in the field. He was my brother, and he was my family. I am going to remember his sense of humor, his laugh and his tight hugs. I will always remember him, and I am so blessed to have so many memories with Roman. I will always cherish them. Today we mourn Roman's death, and we pledge to continue to honor his legacy and commitment to community."

"Roman's bright light transcended across community," said ALMA board member Dulce Quintero. "He dedicated his life to destigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS and encouraged everyone to embrace their cultural identity and voice. Roman is a community icon. His impact will live on, in all of us forever."

"My heart is breaking," said longtime friend and chosen family member David Ernesto Munar, "I met Roman in 1991 through ALMA. We became instant friends and he has been familia ever since. Roman is joy, nuestra raza, carcajadas, show tunes, acceptance, shady, pop culture, gay culture, tender, love. He was instrumental in growing our LGBTQ Latinx visibility in Chicago and building community. Roman was deeply committed to social justice. People recognized his warm spirit and sense of humor wherever he went. The outpouring of support by many in the wake of his death shows how much he positively impacted their lives.

"Román was unapologetically himself and held all the parts of his identities in high esteem including being an out gay Latinx fem multilingual HIV-positive man who loved to sing and make people laugh. He embraced the complexities of his identities and was an example for all of us by living his full truth. My deepest condolences to the love of his life Daniel, his siblings and family in Chicago and California, his AFC colleagues where we worked together for 17 plus years, his ALMA family and all who loved and laughed with him and mourn him today."

"It is with great sorrow that I recognize that Román is no longer with us and that none of us will ever feel the love that radiated from his smile," said longtime friend and fellow activist Mona Noriega. "Organizers who came of age in the '80s have lost a part of themselves, lost someone who shared memories of laughter and sorrow and what it meant to take the risk to step outside of limiting and deadly definitions of what it meant to be Latino and what it meant to be queer. The community lost a man who stepped up to the fight when fighters were most needed, and he did so with grace and love. Rest in power, rest in peace Roman."

In an email statement announcing Buenrostro's death, AFC said in part, "Roman's sense of humor and radiating love of people, and encyclopedic knowledge of culture provided a rich counterbalance to the critical and difficult work he led."

"Roman's beautiful smile lit up the room and opened our hearts," said AFC's President and CEO John Peller in a post on AFC's website. "Roman's leadership at AFC and in the Chicago HIV community has transformed the lives of thousands of people living with and vulnerable to HIV. And from sing-along movie musicals to homemade songs and skits at AFC parties, Roman kept us all laughing at AFC. I am so grateful for everything I learned from Roman."

"There is so much to stay and yet I cannot think of the right thing," said longtime friend Jamie Hock in a Facebook post. "Roman spent his whole life fighting, advocating, and caring for the LGBTQ community. I will miss our glances at each other during work meetings, belting out show tunes with you and scaring ourselves watching the latest horror movie. You are one of my best friends and I am so lucky to have met you. Because we loved musicals so much I will leave you with this quote from Wicked. 'Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.' Love you Roman."

Memorial service details to be announced. The family asks that sympathy cards be sent c/o AFC, 200 W. Monroe St., #1150, Chicago, Illinois 60606.


This article shared 2492 times since Sun Mar 28, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Bernie Hansen's gay-rights legacy remembered 2021-07-30
- Activist Arthur Johnston recalled the late 44th Ward Alderman Bernie Hansen as perhaps "the most unlikely gay-rights alderman." Johnston—one of the activists involved with, among other endeavors, the push for the city's Human Rights Ordinance i ...


Gay News

Photographer/activist Ed Negron's funeral will take place Aug. 3 2021-07-29
- On his own Facebook page, one of the brothers of the late Chicago photographer/activist Ed Negron has revealed the details of his impending funeral. According to Leo Negron Rodriguez, Negron's funeral will take place at ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Writer, attorney, activist Takeia R. Johnson 2021-07-25
- The local organization Affinity Community Services announced the recent passing of Takeia R. Johnson. According to Johnson's LinkedIn profile, she was editor-in-chief and lead writer at Inclusion at Work as well as a Ph.D. student focusing ...


Gay News

Chicago photographer, activist Ed Negron dies [UPDATED] 2021-07-24
- Ed Negron—an activist, Army veteran and substance-abuse counselor who served for many years as a dedicated bisexual volunteer, mentor, leader and advocate in the LGBTQ, Latino and recovering communities—passed away ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Author, cultural theorist, scholar Lauren Berlant dies 2021-07-15
- Author, cultural theorist and scholar Lauren Berlant died June 28 in a Chicago hospice facility of a rare form of cancer. They were 63. Berlant (who used they/them pronouns professionally) was born Oct. 31, 1957 in ...


Gay News

Prominent lesbian educator/activist/author Sally Gearhart dies at 90 2021-07-15
- Sally Gearhart—the first out lesbian to receive a tenure-track position at San Francisco State University and a prominent LGBTQ-rights advocate—died July 14, according to The Bay Area Reporter, which cited an email Jean Crosby sent to ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Ray Marchman 2021-06-23
- Ray Marchman, a onetime Chicago resident, passed away in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 6. He was 87. According to an obituary on Dignity Memorial's website, Marchman was born in Miami in 1933—the only child of ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Fritzie Fritzshall, Auschwitz survivor, innovator in Holocaust education 2021-06-20
--From a press release - As a Survivor of the Holocaust and the President of Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Fritzie Fritzshall devoted her life to combatting hatred and prejudice, inspiring people to become Upstanders instead of bystanders, and speaking ...


Gay News

Fifth annual Pulse Nightclub memorial in downstate Illinois on June 12 2021-06-09
- On Saturday, June 12, at 7 p.m. in Bloomington, Illinois, local organizations will remember the 49 lives lost at the Pulse Nightclub in 2016 with their fifth annual outdoor memorial service, according to a joint press ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Press secretary, LGBTQ passings, poll results, Pride items 2021-05-30
- Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history as the first gay woman to lead a White House press briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, and the second Black woman to do so, LGBTQ Nation ...


Gay News

Remembering Kay "Tobin" Lahusen 2021-05-29
- Much of LGBTQ history, and history in general, has been lost. Even after photography was invented, the lens (and pen) was often directed subjectively, documenting what the mainstream media thought were the significant moments of the ...


Gay News

White Party organizer Jeffrey Sanker dies 2021-05-29
- Gay circuit-party impresario Jeffrey Sanker—owner of the Los Angeles-based White Party Entertainment company—died May 28 after a long battle with liver cancer, the Los Angeles Blade reported. The Blade said ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Kay "Tobin" Lahusen, a founding mother of the gay rights movement, 91 2021-05-26
- Kay Lahusen, 91, died in gentle hospice care at Chester County Hospital on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, after a brief illness. She was born in Cincinnati in January 1930 and as an infant was adopted and ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Victory Institute, activists pass on, Mikayla Miller, Nina West 2021-05-23
- On May 2, The Victory Institute inducted 21 leaders to its newly formed LGBTQ Victory Hall of Fame, according to PrideSource.com. Twenty members were inducted as part of the founding class while U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Social-justice activist, dominatrix Mistress Velvet dies 2021-05-21
- PASSAGES Social-justice activist, dominatrix Mistress Velvet dies By Carrie Maxwell Social-justice activist and dominatrix Mistress Velvet (who used they/them pronouns) died by suicide May 9 in Chicago. They were 33. ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.