Four LGBTQ+ identifying Latinx Chicagoans navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, interpersonal struggles, and community triumphs throughout a turbulent yet powerful 2020.
Program begins at 7:00PM and includes the premiere screening of the documentary, followed by a panel discussion with Q&A and a cocktail reception. Can’t make it in person? Catch the program on Facebook Live.
About the project
The Chicago History Museum and OUT at CHM, in partnership with Association of Latinos/as/x Motivating Action (ALMA), is honored to present “Seguimos Aqui (We’re Still Here): Pride, Pandemic & Perseverance.”
“The Chicago History Museum and OUT at CHM are proud to partner with ALMA to tell the dynamic stories of Latinx LGBTQIA+ communities in Chicago and hear first-hand of their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Donald Lassere, president and CEO of the Chicago History Museum. “It is imperative to elevate their voices and tell Chicago stories from dynamic perspectives and we are honored to bring ‘Seguimos Aqui (We’re Still Here): Pride, Pandemic & Perseverance’ to our audiences.”
Produced by SoapBox Productions and Organizing, the documentary tells the stories of four LGBTQ+ identifying Latinx Chicagoans as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, interpersonal struggles, and community triumphs throughout a turbulent yet powerful 2020. Alma A. Vásquez “Nissa Conde”, entertainer and artist, Luis Lira, community health advocate for Esperanza Health Centers, LaSaia Wade, Founder and Executive Director of Brave Space Alliance, and Reyna Ortiz, Trans Resource Navigator and author of T: Stands for Truth: In search of the Queen Vol. 1 are Latinx LGBTQ+ leaders from different backgrounds who use the power of self-determination, love, and community to not only survive but help their communities.
Meet the storytellers
Alma A. Vásquez “Nissa Conde”
Nissa Conde has been entertaining Chicago audiences for over 28 years with her imitations of Latina music icons Marisela, Edith Marquez, and Gloria Trevi, to name a few. She started performing at 17 years old in nightclubs throughout Mexico City. The closure of the bars and nightclubs where she held residencies during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted her financially. In response, she turned her love of cooking into a weekly virtual live event, “En La Mesa Con Nissa Conde.” The part cooking demo part talk show generated new income streams and introduced her to new audiences across the U.S. and Latin America.
Luis Lira is a health advocate who has served numerous roles for over three decades, working to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and connect people with HIV to necessary care. He was part of the groundbreaking Minority Outreach Intervention Project, an initiative that started in 1989 to improve access to HIV care among Black and brown communities. On April 3, 2020, Luis was hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19 and put in a medically induced coma. Throughout the 33 days, he was hospitalized, medical staff isolated him from the general population, at times leaving him in what he called “inhumane conditions.” Using his experience as an advocate for others, he demanded better treatment. He was reunited with his partner Rafa, who he’s been with for over 20 years.
LaSaia Wade is the Founder and Executive Director of Brave Space Alliance (BSA), the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago. During the global pandemic of COVID-19, LaSaia and BSA members used her extensive experience in organizing to create a Crisis Pantry Delivery Program, coat drive, mutual aid program, and support groups for Black and brown trans and gender-nonconforming people in Chicago. It is estimated that in 2020 BSA served over 300,000 people through the Crises Pantry Delivery Program. All of this while becoming a first-time parent to X, who will turn one in July 2021.
Reyna Ortiz is a Trans Resource Navigator working directly with the Trans/GNC community of Chicago. In 2017 she published “T: Stands for Truth: In search of the Queen (Volume 1),” a collection of stories sharing her experiences as a Latinx trans woman. In March 2020, the youth drop-in space located on the West Side of Chicago that Reyna manages, TaskForce Prevention and Community Services, closed. For months she found security and support from her niece and mother in quarantine. During this time, Reyna created alternative ways to provide critical services (housing assistance, food, clothes, health care) to youth experiencing homelessness. In 2021 TaskForce reopened and continues to serve hundreds of Black LGBTQ youth in Chicago.
ABOUT THE CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
The Chicago History Museum, a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history, is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. The Museum has dedicated more than a century to celebrating and sharing Chicago’s stories through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming. The Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents and images to help audiences connect to the city and its history. The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. The Chicago History Museum is a 2016 winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest award given to these institutions for their community engagement and having an impact on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.
Association of Latinos/as Moving Action serves to fight for the rights of the Latino Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning community by advocating for fairness and equality, and affirming Latino LGBTQ culture.
SoapBox Productions and Organizing is a film and social activism nonprofit specializing in multimedia storytelling for structural social change. They pair art and media with grassroots organizing efforts by developing, documenting, and promoting racial, economic, and social justice initiatives with community collaborators. Soapbox’s mission is to utilize media to power and sustain social movements for a more equitable and creative world. They produce fiction films, documentaries, podcasts, written articles, and community-based programming centered around education, entertainment, and action. SoapBox fosters a radical imagination in creative context to deliver emotional impact storytelling with a liberatory, anti-oppressive framework. Their integrated multimedia format encourages broader access that caters to diverse audiences within the digital space and beyond.
All people ages 12 and older are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. To find vaccination options in Chicago, visit chi.gov/covidvax or call (312) 746-4835 or contact Howard Brown Health at (773) 388-1600.