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Silence Equals Death: NEIU GLBTQA Hosts Filmmaker Roger Goodman

By Janean L. Watkins
On September 28, 2010

The NEIU community can look forward to a night of insight, reality and dialogue around the AIDS epidemic in Chicago during the 1970s and 1980s. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allies (GLBTQA) will host a screening and lecture on "From the Ashes Risen" – a story of ten gay men over 50 living in Chicago with HIV/AIDS, and those who cared for them. Roger Goodman of Tribal Elder Productions, a member of their Board of Directors, and an individual from the cast of the film will feature the trailer, provide a lecture and discuss with attendees the importance of community and, essentially, this film.

Goodman, who was a chaplain from 1987 to 1995, decided to make the film because of his own experiences with an AIDS diagnosis and his work in the community. Goodman says that during those years, he lost over 200 friends, colleagues and lovers to the epidemic and saw the breakdown of humanity when people were turned away from emergency rooms because they were infected with the disease.

His reasoning behind making the film is simple. "It's important for college-aged students to know about the history of AIDS in Chicago," said Goodman. When asked why there might be a rise in the numbers of young adults and teens who are infected, despite what has happened in the past, Goodman said: "Young people feel invincible…we're not a society of ‘people with people,' we don't talk to each other anymore. I want my film to stop sweeping this truth under the rug."

The film will be used as a way to bridge the generational gap between the LGBTQ youth community and the elders who pave the way for them. Goodman hopes that the film will remind both groups that "…if we look at each other as teachers, we'll have much more respect for each other." Sadaf Syed, vice-president of the NEIU GLBTQA is excited to have this event. "It's a win-win situation. We get the story behind the rise of HIV/AIDS and the production company gets promotion and funding for an important film," she said.

Goodman says he wants a conversation, and wants people to ask questions. Hopefully, the event will help to raise more funds to complete the film. Donations are accepted and highly encouraged. As written in the production company's mission statement, the goal of the film is to, "transform people's understanding of and increase their empathy for the history and current challenges facing LGBTQ people and those battling HIV/AIDS," showcasing how community is and was. Goodman also hopes that the film will, "have audience members walk out as bigger people than they were when they came in."

The event will take place on Thursday, October 8, 2010 from 5pm – 7pm. The cost of entry is $5, and the event will be held in the Auditorium Theater. Roger Goodman is also always open to talk more about his endeavor and possible contributions that people in the community can make. He can be reached by email at: More information about the film, video clips and a section to submit your story can be found at their website at:

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