Construction of Los Angeles AIDS memorial to begin
Construction on a controversial AIDS memorial will begin soon in Los Angeles's Lincoln Park in the city's east-side Lincoln Heights neighborhood, reports the organization that is spearheading the project. The memorial, to be built by The Wall: Las Memorias Project, honors Latinos and others who've died of AIDS-related complications. It will include a rose garden, benches, a walking path, sculptures, and eight granite wall panels decorated with murals and inscribed with the names of nearly 4,000 Los Angeles-area residents who've died from the disease. Construction on the $500,000 memorial was set for December but then delayed to make last-minute changes to the planned memorial, in order to remove a mural that the Los Angeles city attorney's office deemed to be religious in nature and therefore not appropriate for the publicly funded project.
Several groups and area residents opposed the planned memorial, which will be paid for with state and city funds, because of fears it will attract gay men to the park. Opponents in March shouted antigay comments at a project meeting and distributed a flier stating "Latino gay men [have] been covertly trying to make a monument to themselves." A Christian legal organization in Sacramento also filed a lawsuit to stop the development of the memorial, and an antigay Web site, found online at www.pinkpork.com, opposed the project as part of the site creators' efforts to "reject government funds, appointments, or benefits dispensed or legislated by homosexual politicians (usually Democrats) to fund the homosexual agenda, and to pull the wool over the eyes of their constituents," according to the home page of the site.