Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship
Dedicated to continuing the legacy of AIDS educator and activist Pedro Zamora, the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship seeks to support the academic efforts of young activists working in their communities today. Using the HIV/AIDS activism movement as an example, the scholarship supports those taking up social justice work in its many forms and working at the intersection of these movements with their communities to drive progress.
The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship supports young leaders who carry the torch of activists like Pedro in pursuit of a bold vision that never again will a community be harmed because of fear, silence, discrimination, or stigma. Much like Pedro himself, this scholarship seeks to support young scholars who embody their activism work in ways inspired by their own passions, insights, originality, and conviction.
When the National AIDS Memorial launched the program in 2009, we looked to young activists to tell us how their career choice would impact the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic. As the program grew, we saw how more and more of our scholars worked at the intersection of health and social justice in a variety of ways.
Moving forward, we are looking to grow our scholarship program to embrace a broader interpretation of 21st century public health and health justice issues. Examples of a scholarship recipient’s work may include but are not limited to:
● HIV/AIDS research, prevention, treatment, access and activism
● Public health and health justice
● Reproductive health
● Serving in peer education, prevention, and community resource programs
● Racial justice
● Immigrant rights
● LGBTQ+ equality and rights
● Drug policy and drug sentencing reform
● Employment and economic justice issues
● Housing and homelessness
● Technology innovation that supports justice work
The scholarship is open to all current high school seniors and first-year college students, sophomores and juniors (ages 27 and younger), including those who are finishing their Bachelor’s degree. Our scholars' academic, extracurricular, or career pursuits are consistent with the goals of the scholarship program, demonstrate an active commitment to community justice work, and take on public service and leadership roles.
The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship is supported through the generous support of Gilead Sciences. Since its inception in 2009, the scholarship has been awarded more than 100 students, providing nearly $350,000 in financial support for their higher education goals.
When Pedro Zamora began his journey on The Real World San Francisco in 1994, he had already been an active HIV/AIDS advocate and educator. At the age of 17, Pedro learned that he was a young man living with HIV and dedicated his life to raising awareness and educating his peers on what they needed to avoid infection. At the age of 22, Zamora captivated the nation with his openness, compassion, vitality, and charisma when he appeared on MTV’s The Real World 3: San Francisco in 1994 and spoke openly about his sexuality, status, and activism. Pedro’s work was tragically cut short when he died of an AIDS-related illness in 1994, the morning after the final episode of The Real World aired.
The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship spotlights and supports young leaders who carry the torch of activists like Pedro in ways inspired by their own passions, insights, originality, and conviction. The National AIDS Memorial is committed to ensuring that Pedro Zamora’s legacy continues and thrives through this scholarship.