Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who's That Queer? [Cleve Jones]

Brought to you by Pistol Pete

Cleve Jones is an American AIDS and LGBT rights activist. He conceived of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt which has become, at 54 tons, the world's largest piece of community folk art as of 2009. In 1983, at the onset of the AIDS pandemic Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation which has grown into one of the largest and most influential People with AIDS advocacy organizations in the United States.

His career as an activist began in San Francisco during the turbulent 1970s when he was befriended by pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk. He worked as a student intern in Milk’s office while studying political science at San Francisco State University.

In 1983, when AIDS was still a new and poorly understood threat, Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Jones conceived the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at a candlelight memorial for Harvey Milk in 1985 and in 1987 created the first quilt panel in honor of his friend Marvin Feldman. The AIDS Memorial Quilt has grown to become the world’s largest community arts project, memorializing the lives of over 85,000 Americans killed by AIDS.

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