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Marco Castro-Bojorquez, HIV Activist and Filmmaker, Has Died

Marco Castro-Borjorquez

Castro-Bojorquez is being remembered as "a passionate advocate who spoke truth to power in defense of his community."

Marco Castro-Bojorquez, a filmmaker and an advocate for the rights of immigrants, Latinx people, LGBTQ+ people, and those living with HIV, has died, friends announced on social media this week.

No cause of death was given for Castro-Bojorquez, who is being widely mourned.

A native of Sinaloa, Mexico, he had lived for more than 20 years in California but had sheltered in Sinaloa for much of the COVID-19 pandemic. He returned to California at the end of May.

Castro-Bojorquez had been a community educator at Lambda Legal, a member of the U.S. People Living With HIV Caucus Steering Committee, and cofounder and cochair of the HIV Racial Justice Now Coalition. He was one of the busiest activists in the nation, Mark S. King noted in a 2015 Plus feature on “15 HIV Advocates to Watch” that year. Castro-Bojorquez’s wide-ranging interests included fighting for the rights of immigrants and refugees with HIV and pointing out the negative effects of HIV criminalization laws.

He also was a writer and director of documentaries, including Tres Gotas de Agua (Three Drops of Water), about Latinx mothers of LGBTQ+ children, and El Canto del Colibri (The Hummingbird Song), dealing with Latinx immigrant fathers and the LGBTQ+ people in their families.

“Marco is such an amazing individual,” Latinx transgender activist Bamby Salcedo told King for the 2015 feature. “He just helped me organize a protest about violence against trans women of color. What drives Marco is his passion for the betterment of everyone.”

Many people are making similar comments in the wake of his death. “There are no words to express the sadness of Marco’s loss. He was a passionate advocate who spoke truth to power in defense of his community, a vast and diverse group of people connected by struggle,” Lambda Legal Western Regional Director Shedrick Davis said in a news release. “Marco saw the beauty and strength of a collective and intersectional movement that together resisted and fought back against the systems that marginalized people of color, immigrants, people living with HIV, transgender people, people living with disabilities, sex workers, and young people. On a personal level, Marco was a thoughtful friend quick to offer a kind word of encouragement and who celebrated everyone’s successes. He will be greatly missed. We can honor Marco’s memory by continuing to fight like hell for the most vulnerable among us, but also by doing our part to make the world kinder, more inclusive, and more fun. We send our deepest condolences to Marco’s family, his friends, and all of the people touched by his work; there are so many and he loved you all very much.”

 “Marco was such a kind, gentle soul with a heart that stretched for miles to include anyone who had the blessing to know him,” Suraj Madoori, Treatment Action Group’s U.S. and global health policy director, said in an online statement. “He was the spiritual center of the HIV movement.” Madoori had worked closely with Castro-Bojorquez as a cochair of the HIV Racial Justice Now Coalition.

“Marco centered love and joy in his work,” added Edric Figueroa, Act Now: End AIDS coordinator. “The ANEA Coalition was lucky to have him as an expert, cheerleader, and good troublemaker across different programs. His embodiment of the chant and call to action ‘I do believe that we will win’ was contagious and his legacy will live on in our efforts to keep HIV justice intersectional.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money for funeral and burial expenses, with any funds left over to be donated to Corazon Abierto, a family acceptance organization he cofounded in Sinaloa.

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