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Rosie Perez 'Keeps the Promise' at World AIDS Day Event

keep the promise
Carlos Delgado/AP

"We have the right to hold our elected official accountable. And that’s exactly what we’re gonna do.”

Ever since the first World AIDS Day in 1988, December 1 has been a time to not only remember the loved ones that we've lost, but to also remind ourselves to keep moving forward and of the work that still remains incomplete.

And no one is more aware of this than critically-acclaimed actress activist, and choreographer Rosie Perez.

Perez, who has been an activist in the AIDS movement since the 1980s, served as this year's host for Keep the Promise, an annual event put on by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).

"The irony is that we are the victims of our own success," said AHF President Michael Weinstein. "As the AIDS situation improves, with better treatments and more people being able to access them, the urgency of winning the war against AIDS here in the U.S. and around the globe has diminished."

The event, which took place the day before World AIDS Day, featured artists like Common, Patti LaBelle, JoJo and Espinoza Paz. Keep the Promise is part of AHF's Around the Globe in a Day initiative, the overall mission being the acceleration of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Perez spoke to this need for urgency, especially among young people today.

"Back in the '80s, we had a president who refused to say the word AIDS, so we took to the streets and we demanded our government to recognize this pandemic," Perez told Out. "Everyone who says, 'Oh, I'm so shocked Trump won'--get over it. We've got too much work to do."

"We've gotta pull up our sleeves and really learn what it means to be an American," she continued. "Meaning we have the right to peacefully protest, to peacefully march, and we have the right to hold our elected official accountable. And that's exactly what we're gonna do."

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