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Larry Kramer (1935-2020)

There are few among us who have, during their time on this earth, dramatically altered the trajectory of history. Larry Kramer was one of those people.

Whether as a founder of several influential AIDS service and activist organizations; as a controversial and acerbic author and playwright who kept a sharp, unwavering focus on the lives and deaths of those in his community; as a “loudmouth,” Susan Sontag once called “one of America’s most valuable troublemakers”; or as someone who courageously channeled his voice and his rage into fighting for systemic change, always refusing to back down, Larry Kramer changed the world. He made an unmistakable difference in the lives of the many who live with HIV today as well as the millions of friends, family members, caretakers, healthcare workers, and activists who stood and fought, and still stand and fight, alongside us on the path to end AIDS. 
It is no coincidence that the New York City AIDS Memorial is at the heart of the neighborhood that was an epicenter of the AIDS crisis in our city, and also Larry Kramer’s life and work.  You’ll find our Memorial only steps from the LGBT Community Center where ACT-UP was launched following a fiery address by Larry in 1987, and not far from the apartment where he and a few others formed Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982. The movements that Larry helped shape are the foundations upon which our Memorial was built, with its mission to be a treasured and sacred space for all New Yorkers to remember, reflect, and renew.

We will continue to honor Larry’s life with action. Let’s never stop organizing, acting up, and fighting back. Let’s never forget those we have lost to AIDS. Let’s never forget that AIDS is not over. Let’s never stop caring about our friends and neighbors living with HIV, and pushing for access to healthcare, or striving for human dignity. By uplifting the voices of activists, leaders, and even troublemakers like Larry Kramer who continue to affect significant differences in all of our lives, his legacy will endure. May he rest in power.


Photo: Catherine McGann/Getty Images