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Bruce Monroe, outspoken Dallas AIDS activist and artist, dies at 65

Bruce-Monroe.jpg
Courtesy: William Waybourn
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Bruce Monroe was president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance which helped lead to the creation of Resource Center in Dallas.

Monroe was a leader in the movement for LGBTQ+ rights and an activist for those in need.

Bruce Monroe, a longtime Dallas activist for people living with HIV and AIDS, died in Dallas on Dec. 4 of complications associated with the disease. He was 65.

Friends and fellow advocates expressed sadness at Monroe’s passing and appreciation for the role he played in putting Dallas on the frontline of combating AIDS and for his decades-long contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.

“Bruce and others in the community insisted on speaking up for our rights and making sure that people got the care that they needed, and finding a way for funding and keeping people in their homes and getting them food and getting education out to individuals,” recalled Cece Cox, CEO of Resource Center which provides services for people with HIV.

“He was also an incredibly clever and kind person who uplifted many of us, and I will miss him a lot.”

As president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, Monroe partnered with the Foundation for Human Understanding to create the Resource Center.

 Bruce Monroe and William Waybourn put up crosses as a monument to AIDS victims in Oak Lawn.
Courtesy
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William Waybourn
Bruce Monroe and William Waybourn put crosses to represent the victims of the AIDS crisis at a potter's field in Oak Lawn.

Friend and fellow activist William Waybourn recalls how Monroe was also an accomplished artist who used his creativity to speak out.

“When we would have demonstrations he would help do the graphics and make it appealing. That will not only entice volunteers but get the media's attention as well as get across the message that we were trying to deliver,” said Waybourn.

At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Monroe brought national attention to the Dallas-Fort Worth region by taking part in chalking outlines in front of Dallas City Hall and displaying crosses on a potter’s field in a vacant lot in Oak Lawn to symbolize the number of AIDS cases in Dallas.

“It was a very difficult time. Dallas did not have a lot of social services that were available to indigent populations, particularly people with AIDS,” said Waybourn.

In Monroe’s final years, Waybourn said his friend stayed active in fighting his disease, but was able to maintain a sense of humor.

Among his many roles, Monroe also worked as a producer on fundraising campaigns at KERA from 1986 to 1994 and found items to auction to raise money for public media.

Former KERA radio news director Yolette Garcia recalls Monroe as a man of conviction and great energy.

“I would like for Bruce to be remembered as a dedicated human being, who, through his participation through the fervor of his beliefs, actually did help bring about change in the LGBT community,” said Garcia.

Monroe’s friend and estate executor Ron Allen said a memorial has not been planned yet but is encouraging people to make a donation to Resource Center in Monroe’s memory.

Got a tip? Email Pablo Arauz Peña at parauzpena@kera.org. KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Pablo Arauz Peña is the breaking news reporter for KERA News.