Ron Rosenes was a lover of life and people. He advocated for people living with HIV and AIDS, and for human rights within the 2SLGBTQ+ community. He loved the arts, had a sharp wit (complemented by a very snappy style), and was a calming and confident presence for so many of us. The world was a better place with him in it.
As news of Ron’s sudden passing reverberates through communities in Canada and beyond, we are reflecting on a life well lived — and a legacy that is both deep and wide. Ron meant something special to many people and to the organizations he supported, and it’s fair to say that we at the HIV Legal Network were utterly charmed by Ron and in awe of his unrelenting commitment to positive change.
Ron was a longtime friend and supporter of the HIV Legal Network, as well as a dedicated Board member and past Board Chair. He worked with us on many of our files, including HIV criminalization and access to medicines, to improve the lives of people living with HIV. He was a longtime champion of the greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV and was working on how to better put this in practice when he left us too early.
We were incredibly lucky to have his talents and time, as Ron didn’t do anything halfway. He listened and led in equal measure. He schemed and dreamed alongside us, always sharing his invaluable personal experience as someone openly living — over decades — with HIV in this country. Our work is stronger because of Ron, and we are forever in his debt.
Ron was also a dear friend. We will miss Ron’s kind eyes, which crinkled at the sides when he was happy to see you. We will miss his grin, which always turned up when he knew he had a wonderful idea to share or when he could see great potential in what you were saying. And we will miss his warm laugh, which was both reassuring and infectious. Ron Rosenes was one of a kind.
Rest in power, Ron. You will never, ever be forgotten.