|I am the Commission: Mauro Julca and his love for people and music and why he is happy with his leadership style.
Mauro was born in Lima, Peru and moved to NYC in 2003. He is pursuing a degree in Psychology at Brooklyn College, and recently obtained his Mental Health & Human Services A.S. from Kingsborough Community College. Plain and simple, Mauro is a people person. He really enjoys working with the community and that is how he got started working with the Commission. Besides this, he enjoys music in all its aspects: playing, listening, singing, and collecting. He likes all genres, beats and folklores. He says music just makes his life easier, and fun.
You started as a client and now you are on staff. Tell us, how has your career path been at the Commission?
I started as a participant back when the Mpowerment Project was launched in 2007. It was the first time that I was able to congregate with such a large group of Latino Men here in NYC. I was hooked, and I wanted others to be part of something like this. Later in 2009, I became an outreach referral specialist for Mpowerment. In 2013, I started working on 3MV, a CDC intervention for gay Latino men. This is my path on paper, but off the record there have been several projects and events where I collaborated with the Commission, Latinos D, and other agencies.
Through your work with Latinos D, you have shown a silent leadership –you don’t have to say much to be recognized as a leader, people just follow you. Would you like to be a vocal and visual leader or you are content in how you lead?
I believe that when we think of a “Leader”, we have created such a high standard that we cannot imagine ourselves becoming one. I was one of them. Eventually, I learned that being a leader is no more than having a passion, and living it. A leader must believe in the direction he is heading, and this is when people start following. I am content with my leadership style. I am also aware that being leader is a learning process and it is shaped by time and experiences.
Your work has focused mostly with the Spanish speaking Latino MSM in New York City. What is something most people do not know about this population?
A big misconception is to think of us as a “one size fits all” group. Most of the time, we are seen as a homogeneous group since we speak the same language. However, Latino men come from several countries with different social structures. There are differences among us that can make a difference if we acknowledge it and learn from one another. In fact, most of us are not even aware of these, and it is important to educate the community about this.
Recently you participated at the Commission’s gala “Designing a World without AIDS”. Which tools will you use to take this theme from a slogan to a reality?
I have friends who are fashion designers and I have watched some fashion design competition shows on TV. They work with what they have, and more often than usual, they come up with great ideas. I believe that in order to design a “World without AIDS” we must use what we have. Let’s not forget about the History of HIV/AIDS. We need to pass this information on, especially to the new generations. Let’s not pass on a message with fear, but with humanity. Let’s keep empowering the community and do not leave it to corporations to define what prevention method work for us; it is because of the advocacy and mobilization of several communities that groundbreaking legislation and policies were made to benefit those affected by this pandemic. Let’s use everything that has been accomplished and been shown to be effective against the fight towards HIV/AIDS.
Since you are a passionate DJ, which gay couple wedding would you DJ for free?
This is an easy answer, the wedding of my friends Franco and Mijail in Peru.
Madonna, Rihana, Lady Gaga, or Cher?
Cher, I am a big fan of her. I had follow all her career, and collect most of her music and movies.
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