August 25, 2016

When Eddie Acosta turned to Desert Hope Treatment Center, an American Addiction Centers facility in Las Vegas, Nevada in January 2015, he was at one of the lowest points in his life. Fast forwarded to today, and Eddie is not only 18 months sober but also on a mission to make a difference in his New Jersey community. For his efforts, on Saturday, August 27, 2016 organizers of the Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival will honor Eddie with the Young Activist Award.

“Receiving this award means the world to me, especially considering where I was just 18 months ago,” said Eddie. “I want to help other addicts see you can make your own life better and have a positive impact on those around you. I learned about the importance of giving back while at Desert Hope.”

It was an article about Eddie in the New Jersey newspaper, The Observer, that impressed Pride organizers. After learning about the Orlando shootings at a gay nightclub this past June and witnessing the unrest in his own community, Eddie organized a peaceful march within a matter of days. He was able to get the support of his city and police departments in Kearny, East Newark and Harrison, New Jersey, while bringing together more than 150 people from all walks of life, for his event – The Walk for Love. He also raised more than $650 for those impacted by the shootings.

“We were so inspired by Eddie that we decided to create an award to recognize his efforts and those of another young activist, 14-year-old Siena Malmad, who organized Teen Pride – Gender Euphoria for this year’s Pride festival,” said Eduardo Baez, Co-Producer, Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival.

“To accomplish what Eddie did in a short amount of time was no easy task. He saw a problem and took it upon himself to create a solution. We were also touched by his recovery story.  Finding the strength to go through recovery and to do something meaningful in the process, is significant and impactful. If he can do it, anyone can.”

“We all have the power to make a difference,” said Eddie.