(New York) –OutRight Action International paid tribute this week to Mirka Negroni, a respected activist and OutRight staff alumni who had wide-ranging experience on LGBT and reproductive rights, sexual health and sexuality, and AIDS-focused policy and advocacy for Latino and Latin American populations. Negroni died suddenly on Oct. 7 while working in Honduras for UNAIDS Director Interpais para Honduras y Nicaragua, ONUSIDA.
Negroni had a wide-ranging career for 20+ years as an advocate for LGBT and reproductive rights. She was also an advocate promoting policies to reduce discrimination based on HIV-AIDS and worked n fundraising, education, and research. She worked in the United States and in Latin America for both non-profits and government agencies.
During her career, she held positions with the American Red Cross in Puerto Rico; as a Latin America specialist for OutRight Action International from 1996-99 (then as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission); at Hispanics in Philanthropy; as a country manager in Mexico for a USAID health initiative and as executive director of La Raza Information Center in 1995. She wrote articles about HIV/AIDS in Mexico and Central America, was a guest lecturer at the School of Public Health in Mexico and developed education and training programs on sexual health and sexuality at San Francisco State University.
Current and former staff of OutRight commented on Mirka Negroni’s contributions to LGBTI rights.
Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, said: “Mirka built the foundation beneath our Latin America advocacy and programs. All of us stand on the shoulders of the activists who came before us, and there’s no question that Mirka elevated the potential for our understanding of and contributions to LGBTI communities in Latin America.”
Julie Dorf, founder of OutRight Action International and now senior advisor to the Council for Global Equality, said: “Mirka was an electrifying force anywhere she was present. The combination of her smarts, her energy, and her relationships made her a fantastic colleague and friend. She will be so deeply missed in our movement and in all the lives she touched, including mine.”
Dusty Araujo, who formerly ran the asylum program at OutRight, recalled his first meeting with Negroni in 1997. “She was already a star in the firmament of LGBT/HIV human rights and as a feminist. Mirka already had a trajectory, and was well known and loved by many not only in the USA but also throughout Latin America. I learned a lot of my politics from her and watched her be such a diplomat in new and exciting ways with activists from all places and with different agendas. Her energy, love for life, giving of herself, and the huge sparkle that she was will be so missed by all who knew her.”
Kagendo Murungi, a former staff member at OutRight Action International, said: The ease with which Mirka found ways to elevate the basic human condition, political analysis, and spiritual state of every person with whom she worked ensured our love for her. Mirka’s passion, urgency and dedication infused us with a cultural appreciation of Latin America and a sharper analysis of LGBTQI human rights and HIV/AIDS issues. This special love that she practiced daily, along with the joy that she emanated embodied Mirka’s feminist, sex positive, and inclusive approach to liberation.”
Sydney Levy, also a former staff member at OutRight, wrote: “She will be remembered for her charisma, her sense of humor, and her commitment for Latin American and Latino LGBT rights.”
OutRight is planning a memorial tribute for Mirka Negroni in December in New York.
Published on October 12, 2015 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization