On December 15, 2021, our fraternity lost one of our beloved Hermanos, Willy A. Rivas.
Willy was a gentle soul with a giving heart. His love for his family, his community, and his fraternity was profound. We are deeply mourning the loss of our friend and Hermano. There are few words to express the pain and sorrow we feel.
Willy was one of our most active Hermanos, rising to various roles of leadership. His commitment to our organization was powerful. Willy’s leadership was recognized as an undergraduate, where he served as his chapter’s secretary, historian, and president. Willy’s determination to serve our fraternity at a national level grew as he held the roles of Regional Director, Vice President of our National Council and eventually being selected to lead our fraternity as National Council President. His love for our fraternity continued to expand and our hermandad rewarded him by electing Willy to serve on our Board of Directors where he eventually became our Chairman. Willy was special. He was a servant leader who aimed to support and befriend those with whom he connected. Throughout his years as an Hermano and leader Willy was also instrumental in cultivating and strengthening our relationship with the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) and partner organizations.
Although Willy’s life ended before we were ready, the time that Willy spent in our lives was memorable and full of joy. As Hermanos, his legacy will live within us, but as Hermanos, we have dedicated ourselves to support our Hermandad. His wife Maria and children are part of our Hermandad and we are here to step in to support his family as Willy has supported ours. Join us in Remembering and Honoring Willy Rivas.
With sadness in our hearts, we find solace in knowing that Willy is in a better place. In our lives, there have been few people as special as Willy. Willy was someone that we felt deeply connected to, and even though he is gone now, we will feel his presence Para Siempre.
National Latino/a/x AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) is observed each year on October 15, to raise awareness of the impact of HIV on Latino/a/x populations in the US. While they make up about 19% of the US population, Latinos accounted for 27% of all new HIV cases in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Among Latino men, those who have sex with men account for the largest proportion of new diagnoses (85%). NLAAD provides a powerful opportunity to call the nation’s attention to these stark statistics, and to focus on the actions we can take to turn the tide.
CDC has a new NLAAD digital toolkit available to help share important messages on stopping HIV stigma and promoting HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. I encourage all of our Hermandad and local chapters to share these messages to bring awareness to HIV in our community. The toolkit makes it easy – simply download the graphics and copy the social media messages to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
La Unidad Latina’s greatest strength is its Hermanos. So in recognition of NLAAD, here are three things we all can do today to make a big impact for our future:
Know your HIV status. CDC recommends that everyone ages 13-64 get tested for HIV at least once. Knowing your HIV status empowers you to choose the best options for staying healthy. Order a FREE self-testing kit, or find a testing location near you using CDC’s service finder.
Learn about HIV prevention and treatment. Today there are more options than ever to prevent HIV, which include using condoms and medicines like PrEP to protect yourself and your partners. If you have HIV, it’s important to make choices that keep you healthy and protect others.
Talk about HIV in your communities to help normalize conversations about HIV. Despite the progress of medicine over the years, many people continue to believe HIV myths. Talking about HIV and spreading the facts can help to eliminate HIV stigma and the discrimination people with HIV may face.
CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign has additional resources that you can use to share important information in our communities:
National HIV/AIDS awareness day calendar: Resources to support raising HIV awareness throughout the year.
HIV prevention social media toolkits: Content and social media graphics to promote HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and anti-stigma messaging. This also includes a Spanish toolkit that contains ready-to-go messages you can post for your Spanish-speaking followers.
New York, NY — As Black and Latino men, our existence is threatened daily. As Black and Latino men, we are seen as targets and dispensable. As Black and Latino men, our lives matter. The tragic and untimely deaths of Ahmaud Arbery & George Floyd and the blatantly false accusations that could have jeopardized the life of Christian Cooper highlight systemic and institutional racism and the hatred of Black lives.
For the past few years, events captured by social media have heightened the awareness of issues that Blacks and African Americans have suffered since slavery. Now, more than ever, all people must stand up for and against injustice. The Hermanos of La Unidad Latina, with shared lived experience, stand with Black Lives Matter in solidarity against racism and police brutality.
We ask all our members and supporters to act within their communities. This is a time for all Americans to advocate and fight for change. Collaboration with community leaders, law enforcement and private citizens is needed to bring an end to systemic racism.
“…I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Greetings, Class of 2020: Across the country, graduating students (high school and college) are mourning the loss of a ceremonial event symbolizing successful completion of a milestone achievement: graduation. The global pandemic has forced the implementation of national guidelines restricting large scale gatherings. As a result, virtual commencements are taking place to honor and recognize graduates.
La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. oﬃcially recognizes and congratulates graduating Hermanos of the class of 2020. For some of our Hermanos, you may be the ﬁrst generation in your family to graduate from an institution of higher learning. While you may not be able to join your classmates in donning your cap and gown, walking across the stage to shake a dean’s hand, and hearing your family shout your name in unbridled enthusiasm, know that it does not stop anyone from celebrating YOU!
Congratulations and La Unidad Para Siempre, Hermanos! We are proud of you Hermanos, and wish you a successful and rewarding future. As graduates, new alumni and future leaders, we look forward to your continued contributions to La Fraternidad and your communities as we navigate new norms for a healthy and productive future.