Legacy Community Health is here today because the gay men in Houston had the courage to say "enough is enough." They were fed up with being turned away at hospitals and clinics for simply living their lives. They were tired of seeing their friends denied treatment for HIV/AIDS, a disease very few understood in the 1980s. And they were heartbroken at watching too many of their loved ones die at home alone because they had nowhere else to turn.
These men faced challenges that many of us can't fathom, but they persevered. They overcame innumerable obstacles to open a place of comfort and hope to disenfranchised Houstonians that now serves more than 125,000 Texans each year. Because of their willingness to do what others wouldn't, because of their resilience in an environment characterized by hate for people like them, Legacy Community Health exists to provide essential medical services to anyone who walks through our doors. The legacy these gay men left behind has helped heal more than 1.5 million people in our 35 plus years of operation.
It is this same resilient spirit that will overcome the most recent reminder of the power of hatred and the murders of 49 people in Orlando. We grieve with the families hurt by this act of terror, and we mourn for those taken from this life far too soon. We share the outrage felt by not just the LGBTQ community, but by the Latino community as well. Nearly 60 percent of Legacy patients come from Latino backgrounds, and many of the victims in Orlando share their ancestry. We stand with everyone affected by this tragedy, and offer whatever support we can give during this trying time.
At its core, terrorism is about disrupting the daily lives of those targeted. It's about instilling fear and doubt in communities the terrorists hate. One of the best ways to combat terrorists is to celebrate what they fear: diversity, freedom, and equality. I promise you that Legacy will always remain true to these bedrock principles. We will continue opening our doors to those with nowhere left to turn, and continue to honor the roots planted long ago by gay men who simply wanted to help their community survive. No terrorist can take that away from us, and no act of terror will stop us from taking pride in our history.
CEO, Legacy Community Health