Mario Cuomo: A Forceful and Compassionate Advocate
Mario Cuomo with amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim at amfAR’s Honoring with Pride event in 2000.“He was an advocate. He was a crusader. Mario Cuomo was the keynote speaker for our better angels," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his eulogy for his father, who was laid to rest on Tuesday, January 6.
Three-term New York Governor Mario Cuomo, who passed away on New Year’s Day, was a true friend to the HIV/AIDS community, showing genuine leadership in the early days of the epidemic while Washington dithered. Elected Governor in 1983, Cuomo established the New York State AIDS Institute in his first year in office and was a forceful advocate for research, education, services and funding to combat the epidemic. He was an early supporter of the AIDS Medical Foundation, a predecessor of amfAR that was co-founded by Dr. Mathilde Krim in 1983.
“Mario Cuomo was the embodiment of leadership on HIV/AIDS at a time when leadership in government was desperately needed but sorely lacking,” said amfAR Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robert Frost. “He will be remembered by those of us in the HIV/AIDS community with profound respect and gratitude.”
In July 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo took up the baton of leadership on AIDS when he announced his plan to end AIDS in New York State by 2020.
Mario Cuomo will also be remembered as one of the great political orators of our time. In a famous speech delivered at the 1984 Democratic National Convention he said, “We believe in a government strong enough to use words like “love” and “compassion” and smart enough to convert our noblest aspirations into practical realities.”