Former GALAEI Executive Director and LGBT Advocate Gloria Casarez Passes Away

October 20, 2014

A letter from GALAEI Executive Director Elicia Gonzales

“We live and we die like fireworks. Our legacies hide in the embers,” Sleeping at Last. In the Embers

Gloria Casarez: activist, leader, wife, friend. Her body left the physical world today, October 19, 2014 at sunrise. Sunrise marks a new day. Today is that new day. The first day we all have to figure out what life will be without Gloria.

The loss is tremendous. She meant so much, to so many. For us at GALAEI, she continued to be a visionary leader by whom we felt supported, validated, and inspired. She led GALAEI for 10 years, but her fiery passion did not leave when she left the helm. She cultivated a whole new generation of leaders who continue to fight to ensure justice will come to the marginalized and disenfranchised.

One only has to go to City Hall right now to see the rainbow flag flying high - a visual representation of what Gloria stood for and of all of her advocacy efforts for the LGBT community. Some of the rights our community gets to enjoy today can be directly attributed to Gloria’s determination, strong-will, and smarts. She was fierce. She was fearless. And she was a fighter.

Gloria was a fighter till the end. She squeezed every last ounce out of this life and gave 150% of herself to her work, her community, her family, and her friends. She helped to make issues visible that affect those who are often made to feel invisible. She gave a voice to the voiceless and hope to those who had given up.

In short, she was a total bad-ass. She fought for what she believed in - holding us all accountable to act against any injustices that were perpetuated in our community.

She was unique. Her passion, wisdom, and courage were perfectly reflected by her heart, mind, and soul. There are none like her, and she will be missed greatly.

We continue to carry the torch that Gloria kept lit for 10 years, the very torch that David Acosta lit in 1989 in the quest for social justice for queer Latinos. We fan the embers that are her legacy. We will not let the fire burn out.

We will mourn her. And we will celebrate her life, as well as the gifts she left us all; the gifts of voice, of power, of creativity, of vision, and of love.

Our thoughts and hearts go out to Tricia - her wife, her family, friends, and everyone who was touched by the firework we knew as Gloria.