NEW YORK - The Latino Commission On AIDS issue the following statement regarding the passing of Hose "Pepe" Morales, Jr.:
On behalf of The Board of Directors, staff and volunteers of the Commission, we are extremely saddened to share the news that we lost one of one of our founders and a force of nature from our community who left an indelible impact. The legendary Jose “Pepe” Morales, Jr. passed away Friday, March 5. He was the beloved husband of Josie, his wife of 51 years, father of Susana, José, and Daniel, Abuelo of Danilo and Mateo, adoptive Dad to Lourdes, and dearly loved Dad-in-law, cousin, uncle, and godfather.
Pepe Morales was a shining example to us all of a life well-lived, believing wholeheartedly that everyone deserves to live with dignity, have access to quality and affordable healthcare, and worked every day to develop strategic collaborations, build understanding and educate the public at large to prevent discrimination and stigma, while ultimately reducing the spread of HIV. Morales was also a fearless and thoughtful trailblazer who became an inspiration to the world for his steadfast support of those who are infected or living with the HIV disease. Indeed, Morales was the living embodiment of the best principles of humanity through his collective contributions and unwavering commitment to the needs of our must vulnerable populations and in particular, addressing the many health challenges faced by communities of color.
“Few people can claim to have been in the vanguard of those attempting to integrate public health with social justice and Jose “Pepe” Morales was certainly a true visionary in furthering the concept of social medicine. His noteworthy contributions to the fields of medicine, healthcare and social justice will be his lasting legacy,” stated Guillermo Chacon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS.
Born in New York City to Rita and Pepe, brother to Jorge, he attended City College, and was a community organizer and health administrator devoted to social justice, civil rights, public health, and the advancement of the Puerto Rican/Latino community. During his long and accomplished career, Morales directed the Puerto Rican Community Development Project, Boriken Health Center, and the Department of Ambulatory Care at Lincoln Hospital. He was a Principal Regional Officer of Health and Human Services during the Carter administration and a VP at St. Barnabas Hospital. His Board memberships included the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, El Museo del Barrio, Community Service Society, Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor, Promesa, St. Ann’s Harm Reduction Project, Better Bronx for Youth, Latino Commission on AIDS, and Boricua College.
There will be a public viewing on Tuesday and Wednesday --both days from 2-5 pm, 7-9 pm at the Williams Funeral Home which is at 232nd Street and Broadway in the Bronx. A funeral service will be at the Funeral Home on that Wednesday evening. Address for condolences: Josie Morales, 3049 Johnson Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463. A memorial service is planned for later this spring, but we do not have the details confirmed yet. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Latino Commission on AIDS, 24 W. 25th Street, 9th floor, New York, NY 10010; and the Marble Hill Senior Center, 5365 Broadway, Bronx, NY 10463. The Commission will also honor Morales in a tribute May 10th at its annual Cielo Latino benefit in New York City.
ABOUT THE LATINO COMMISSION ON AIDS
The Latino Commission on AIDS (Commission) is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1990 dedicated to fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Latino/Hispanic communities. The Commission is the leading national Latino AIDS organization coordinating National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and other prevention and advocacy programs across the United States and its territories.