Steve June 30, 2020
in-memory-of-larry-kramer
Larry Kramer, gay news, Washington Blade
Larry Kramer in 2007. (Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia)

Larry Kramer was never afraid to speak his mind and continued to fight the system and status quo up until his death. He was even writing a play this spring when the coronavirus first emerged.

“It’s about gay people having to live through three
plagues,” he said.

At 84 he was still engaged and knew perhaps more than anyone
the scale of what was to come.

My name is Mathilde Laderud, I am from Norway and have lived
the past 10 years in NYC. I have worked for the U.N. and later in documentary
and film production. I am writing this because I am a huge fan of Larry Kramer.
I have been moved by his conviction and dedication and try to channel his
strength whenever I feel that something is too much to handle for just one
person. Larry taught us that there is always something you can do, even if you
are the only one fighting.

During these past few months of irregular life schedules,
people have begun to wake up and are asking themselves what parts of normal are
no longer acceptable. The past few months of isolation has provided a vacuum of
solitude away from regular distractions. The injustices happening around the
world are now right in front of us, visible and impossible to brush aside. We
are seeing people organizing and no longer accepting the silence or the lies we’re
fed from the media and our governments.

Larry said silence equals death. Today I am seeing people
all over the world taking power into their own hands, going to the streets
without fear and protesting, asking questions and demanding justice. Protesting
is no longer only for the radicals, like Larry and his fellow protesters were
called. In the U.S. and across the world people are protesting decades of
systemic racism and the murders of so many innocent black men and women.
Simultaneously minorities and poor communities around the world are dying
disproportionately from the coronavirus.

In the U.S. we have a health care system that denies access
to its most vulnerable citizens. It’s a system that punishes you for being
sick, or losing your job — a time when you need this support the most. if you
lose your job in the U.S., you also lose your health insurance. Larry fought to
change the healthcare system and demanded that everyone should have access to
health care and new drugs. He said, “everyone should be angry.”
Needless to say, the situation in the U.S. is very unstable and in need of a
serious makeover.

Around a year ago we saw millions across the globe
protesting climate change and demanding change from governments. The protests
have already changed the way politicians and businesses leaders talk about
climate change and added urgency to the political debate. The U.K.’s House of
Commons has declared a “climate emergency,” and some cities have followed,
including Sydney, New York and Paris.

I want to thank Larry for teaching us to say “no”,
“I will not stand for this” and “we need to do better” He
fought against inaction from leaders and people in positions of power, and
against the apathy he sometimes found within his own people.

“I am sick of everyone in this community who tells me to
stop creating a panic. How many of us have to die before you get scared off
your ass and into action? Aren’t 195 dead New Yorkers enough?” he wrote in his
1983 essay “1,112 and Counting” for the New York Native magazine. You
don’t get anything unless you fight for it, united and with visible numbers.
Without him, millions of people more would die from HIV/AIDS. The drugs that
are here today are because of Larry Kramer and no one in history can dispute
that. We must all take Larry’s advice, to think big and try to change the
world.

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