Home » Tribute for Dennis deLeon

The Latino Commission on AIDS mourns the passing of its founder, Dennis deLeon, a tireless advocate for social justice and one of the first openly HIV-positive Latino leaders in the country. He was a pioneer and a visionary, and in his lifetime he sought to curb and eliminate health disparities among marginalized communities. As a lawyer and later a non-profit executive, deLeon believed in bridging cultural differences to effect progressive social change. He pushed lawmakers to consider community-based approaches to public health, and stressed increased accountability and responsiveness on the parts of government agencies. Throughout his career he maintained a vibrant concern for all people of color, especially those communities ravaged by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. His loss is the cause of great grief and sadness, yet his legacy is worthy of celebration. Our thoughts and prayers are with his partner of 32 years, Bruce Kiernan.

Dennis deLeon was born in Los Angeles, California in 1948. He earned his B.A. from Occidental College in 1970, and became a lawyer in 1974 after attending Stanford Law School. His time in school was marked by leadership in undergraduate and law school organizations, including the Stanford Law Review. After clerking for a California appellate court judge, Dennis joined the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. as a trial attorney. During his tenure there he inaugurated one of the largest Latino employee organizations in the Department of Justice. Later, Dennis returned to California to work as Regional Counsel for California Rural Legal Assistance, where he provided legal services for migrant farmworkers in California's agricultural communities. more [+]

Media Coverage about Dennis deLeon

"Dennis deLeon, AIDS Activist, Dies at 61"   read article
"AIDS activist Dennis deLeon dies at 61"    read article
"Dennis deLeon, ex-city Human Rights commish who fought for gays, people with AIDS, dies1"   read article
"Muere de León: luchador feroz contra VIH/SIDA"   
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"AIDS Activist Dennis deLeon Laid To Rest"
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"En entrevista: El legado del activista hispano Dennis deLeón"    read article

"Rinden último adiós a reconocido activista hispano"  
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"Longtime Civic Leader Dennis deLeon Succumbs to Illness"    read article
"Statement of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Passing of Dennis deLeon"    read article
"The loss of our friend and colleague, Dennis deLeon"
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"Dennis deLeon, Longtime AIDS Advocate, Dies at 61"
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"The loss of our friend and colleague, Dennis deLeon"
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"Latino Commission on AIDS head deLeon dies in NYC"
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"Dennis deLeon, Founder of Latino Commission on AIDS, Passes On"    read article
"Latino Commission On AIDS Head DeLeon Dies In NYC"
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"Dennis deLeon Dies at 61"    read article

Dennis deLeon, AIDS Activist
Background Information
Name: Dennis Lawrence deLeon
Born: July 16, 1948 Los Angeles, California
Died: December 14, 2009 (aged 61) New York, New York
Heritage: Mexican descent
Education: Law degree from Stanford University (1974)
Work: New York City Human Rights Commissioner;
President of the Latino Commission on AIDS.
Survived by: Bruce Kiernan, his partner of 32 years