“A Hero Comes Home” — an Exhibit on the Life and Times of Daniel Sotomayor

Daniel Sotomayor, an inductee in the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame — A HERO COMES HOME , an exhibit on his life and times,  is on display until March 5, 2010, at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, 3015 W. Division Street, in Humboldt Park, Chicago, Illinois.

Sotomayor was a cartoonist and one of Chicago’s most explosive AIDS activists. The exhibit includes cartoons by Sotomayor, photos, T-shirts, the AIDS Quilt panel created in Sotomayor’s honor, and more. 

Daniel Sotomayor was born on August 30, 1958. He grew up in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago, at troubled youth of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. He attended Prosser High School, studied acting at the Center Theatre, attended the American Academy of Art and graduated from Columbia College with a degree in graphic arts. He began to pursue a career in acting and graphic design.
Daniel’s HIV seroconversion and sudden diagnosis with AIDS in 1988 shattered his personal and professional aspirations awakening in him the activist who changed forever the standard by which our community leaders are judged. After joining ACTUP/CHICAGO, Daniel proceeded through sheer force of will to propel that organization to its highest effective visibility. Daniel became widely known for his public confrontations with Mayor Richard M. Daley to bring attention to the AIDS crisis, the Chicago Health Department’s responsibility to implement the City’s AIDS Strategic Plan and inadequate education, prevention and media programs.
Daniel also established himself as the first nationally syndicated, openly gay political cartoonist. During his brief but brilliant three1year career, he created over two hundred scathing, and often humorous, cartoons illustrating his anger with AIDS, with government inaction, with the insurance industry, the health care system, pharmaceutical companies and, frequently, with AIDS activists themselves. Daniel has left his indelible mark on the AIDS movement, on our community’s awakening as a political force, on the minds of “leaders” who have had reason to fear his unblinking honesty, and on the hearts of those who came to know the human being behind the headlines. Daniel’s relentless pursuit of the truth helped him to live his life with a consistency of ethic that most of us can only aspire towards. In doing so, he changed forever our definition of “leader”. Daniel passed in 1992. But his spirit and efforts made an impact on many!

The institute is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
 It is closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

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