The National AIDS Memorial offers $5,000 undergraduate scholarships to up-and-coming young leaders working to advance health, racial, and social justice in order to carry on Pedro Zamora’s legacy as an AIDS educator and activist. These people are the future health care professionals, decision-makers, activists, and caregivers who will direct the same interventions, systems, practices, research, and advocacy initiatives that will ultimately put an end to HIV/AIDS.
Pedro Zamora was already an active HIV/AIDS advocate and teacher when he started his trip on The Real World San Francisco in 1994. Pedro committed his life to spread awareness and informing his peers about what they needed to do to prevent infection after learning that he was a young man who has HIV when he was 17 years old.
When Zamora, then 22 years old, went on The Real World and spoke frankly about his sexuality, status, and activism, he captured the nation with his candor, compassion, vibrancy, and charm. In a further historical first, Pedro and Sean Sasser publicly professed their love in a marriage ceremony while on the show. Pedro also discussed their connection with Sean Sasser, a man of color who is HIV-positive, on camera.
Pedro’s life sadly ended the morning after the season finale of The Real World aired in 1994 due to an AIDS-related sickness.
The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship was established by the National AIDS Memorial in his memory. It highlights and supports young leaders who uphold the activism of Pedro Zamora and work to lessen the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in ways that are motivated by their own desires, insights, originality, and conviction.
HIV/AIDS NATIONAL MEMORIAL
By telling the tale of the fight against HIV/AIDS, we honor the memory of the lives lost forever, provide comfort and hope to survivors, and motivate the young generation of activists to take up the cause of ending stigma, denial, and hatred in order to create a fairer world.
At the height of the AIDS epidemic, over 30 years ago, a small group of San Franciscans looking for a sacred place to remember loved ones lost to the disease set out to create the National AIDS Memorial. That location referred to as “the Grove,” was built in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park as a designated area of the country where millions of Americans affected by AIDS might come together to heal, inspire, and remember.
The country needed to heal and make sure that those deaths were never forgotten as the AIDS pandemic spread and hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives to a disease that did not show mercy or discrimination. President Bill Clinton approved legislation by U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi in 1996, making “the Grove” the only legally recognized National AIDS Memorial in the country.
In the years that have come after, the National AIDS Memorial’s efforts have increased to make sure that the lives of those who lost their lives to AIDS are never neglected and that future generations are aware of the AIDS story so that a community will never again suffer because of dread, silence, discrimination, or negative stereotypes. The National AIDS Memorial’s programming and work are now centered on the past and lessons of AIDS.
ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP
Current or prospective undergraduate students (age 27 and under) enrolled in a four-year college or community college in the United States are eligible for the scholarship. Through the kind assistance of various partners, including Gilead Sciences, 112 scholars have received financial support totaling more than $400,000 since 2009.
Make use of the resources on this page to learn more about scholarships. Pedro’s AIDS advocacy and leadership are influencing the future, and the National AIDS Memorial welcomes eager young leaders to be a part of this vital program.
AMOUNT OF AWARD
The amount for the award is $5000
All current high school seniors, first-year college students, sophomores, and juniors (age 27 or younger), including those who are completing their Bachelor’s degree, are eligible for the award. Our scholars actively participate in community justice work, pursue academic, extracurricular, or professional goals that are aligned with the program’s objectives, and take on leadership and public service responsibilities.
Interested persons can now apply here