DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A nonprofit organization that serves some of the most vulnerable communities in Los Angeles is facing a major loss in funding from the city.
On Wednesday, about 30 members of the nonprofit The Wall Las Memorias Project and advocates attended the Los Angeles City Council meeting. During public comment portion, they urged the council to reconsider a motion underway to transfer $500,000 in funds from the nonprofit to the community programs fund for Council District 1.
Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, who represents District 1, introduced the motion.
The Wall Las Memorias Project helps the underserved Latino LGBTQ+ community. Some of the services the nonprofit provides include HIV and substance-abuse prevention, mental health and more.
"With the increase of hate crimes of hate throughout Los Angeles and different parts of this country, by the city council allowing a motion to go forward that would take money away from The Wall Las Memorias it is sending the wrong message," said Richard Zaldivar, founder and
executive director of the nonprofit.
The nonprofit has existed for nearly three decades. While it is a community health and wellness organization, it also erected the country's first AIDS monument in Lincoln Park, which is in Council District 1. The memorial honors those who have lost their lives to the disease.
"It takes a lot of support, a lot of love to be able to come to terms with your HIV status," Jorge Diaz, a resident of the district. "So, what The Wall Las Memorias does for people like me is really help us understand and accept what is to live with HIV. So to hear that they're going to take funds away from this programming is
According to Zaldivar, the funds were approved last year by the previous city administration. If the motion passes, Zaldivar said it would prevent the nonprofit from expanding and enhancing community services that would address the AIDS crisis. The removal of the funds would also halt the progress of the monument.
"My team has met with the Wall Las Memorias, and we've agreed to continue this item in order to discuss what are the greatest needs in CD 1 and how we can best make use of these funds," Hernandez said. "Thank you everyone who came here today to speak on this item and look forward to hearing from y'all."
The motion has pushed to the council's meeting on Aug. 8.
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