Richard Zaldivar founded The Wall Las Memorias Project in 1993 and constructed the only publicly funded AIDS Monument in the nation in 2004. The monument is situated in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles and serves as an inspiration and a catalyst for social change. Under his leadership, the organization has developed innovative programs to reach out to Latino and other underserved populations and developed HIV, substance abuse and mental health prevention programs in a holistic and spiritual manner.
A native of Los Angeles, Zaldivar began his career in public service as a field deputy to the legendary Los Angeles City Councilman Art Snyder and later went on to serve the City of Los Angeles for sixteen years. The highlight of his political career was serving on the National Democratic Convention Platform Committee’s Foreign Policy subcommittee. Local, national, and international institutions have recognized his leadership. He was named one of 100 most influential lesbian or gay persons in 1997 by Out magazine.
He has been highlighted as a National Hero on American Latino Television on ABC Television which can be viewed here, featured on KTLA’s Heroes at Home in April 2011. In 2012 he was presented with the “Spirit Award” from the Latino Caucus of the California State Legislature and in 2013 with the “Pride Award” from the LGBT Caucus of the same legislature making him the only person to receive awards from multiple caucuses from the California State Legislature.