Tag Archives: AIDS Quilt

Gay History Month – October 11th, 1987: The Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights – Videos



The Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights was one of the largest LGBT political rallies that ever took place in Washington, D.C. and took place  on October 11, 1987.  Its success, size and scope has led it to be referred to by many in gay history as “The Great March”.

The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, drafted documents to extant LGBT organizations soliciting interest in a new march. The response was favorable, and the two organized an initial planning meeting in New York City on July 16, 1986, where it was decided that the march would be held in 1987.  Representatives from all known LGBT organizations were subsequently invited to a national conference in New York City on November 14–16, 1986 where they would discuss the politics, logistics and organization of the event. The final organizational meeting for the march took place in Atlanta on May 2–3, 1987.

The delegates at the West Hollywood convention chose several primary demands to serve as the platform for the 1987 March. Each of these demands was supplemented with a broader list of demands which extended beyond the scope of single-issue LGBT concerns. In doing so, the organizers wished to underscore their recognition that oppression of one group affects oppression of all groups. The seven primary demands were:

  • The legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships.
  • The repeal of all laws that make sodomy between consenting adults a crime.
  • A presidential order banning discrimination by the federal government.
  • Passage of the Congressional lesbian and gay civil rights bill.
  • An end to discrimination against people with AIDS, ARC, HIV-positive status or those perceived to have AIDS. Massive increases in funding for AIDS education, research, and patient care. Money for AIDS, not for war.
  • Reproductive freedom, the right to control our own bodies, and an end to sexist oppression.

The march itself was part of six days of activities, with a mass wedding and protest in front of the Internal Revenue Service on October 10, and, three days later, a civil disobedience act in front of the Supreme Court building protesting its rulings upholding Bowers v. Hardwick and was led by Cesar Chavez and Eleanor Smeal, who were followed by people with AIDS and their supporters.

Speakers at the rally included:

* Former National Organization for Women president Eleanor Smeal
* Union president and Latino civil rights figure Cesar Chavez
* Actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg
* Jesse Jackson, then a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President.

Jackson told the crowd, “Let’s find a common ground of humanity… [W]e share the desire for life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, equal protection under the law. Let’s not dwell on distinctions.”

Police on the scene estimated numbers during the actual march to be closer to half a million.

With AIDS at the forefront of everyones’ concern, the march marked the public debut of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. The quilt occupied the equivalent of two city blocks, and included 1,920 panels commemorating more than 2,000 persons who had died of AIDS. Since then, the AIDS Memorial Quilt has become the world’s largest community art project, encompassing 1.3 million square feet and commemorating the lives of over 94,000 people who died of AIDS.

But even the quilt couldn’t break through the national reticence to discuss the epidemic or the concerns of gay people. Despite the enormity of the gatherings, the three national news magazines — Newsweek, Time and U.S. News & World Report — neglected to mention any of it, which longtime advocate Barbara Gittings described as “an appalling example of media blindness.”

PLEASE watch the videos below filmed by pioneering Gay Cable Network. The footage gives a glimpse into and understanding of what the LGBT rights movement and activism from the mid-late 80’s was like which is nothing like what we have today.

And perhaps should return to.




The NAMES Project: 2000 AIDS Quilt Panels To Be Displayed In NYC August 11th & 12th, 2014

AIDS Quilt


In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect and celebrate the lives of people who have died of AIDSrelated causes. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting of devoted friends and lovers served as the foundation of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Today the Quilt is a powerful visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic. More than 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels — most commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS — have been sewn together by friends, lovers and family members.

The Quilt was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and remains the largest community art project in the world. The Quilt has been the subject of countless books, films, scholarly papers, articles, and theatrical, artistic and musical performances, including “Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt” which won the Academy Award as the best feature-length documentary film of 1989.

Via Press release: 

The AIDS Memorial Quilt returns to New York City for a two-day public display, featuring 260 12-foot-by-12-foot sections of this internationally celebrated, handmade tapestry. Presented as a gift to the city by Kiehl’s Since 1851, the Governor’s Island display will begin with a special opening ceremony/press opportunity at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11. This opening dedication is a part of the fifth annual Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR, a charity motorcycle ride that raises funds and awareness for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, which is dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic.

The Quilt display is free and open to the public and will be on view from 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on August 11 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12. The display will feature more than 2,000 panels honoring over 5,014 individuals including many created by and for individuals who call New York home as well as panels created by leading fashion houses like Giorgio Armani, Anna Sui, Ralph Lauren and BCBG to honor those in the industry who were lost to the pandemic. In recognition of the annual Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR, a new panel for The Quilt created by Kiehl’s will also be unveiled and dedicated at this event.

If you are in or around New York City please go and remember and pay respects to those who we lost during the darkest time of our history.

Governor’s Island is accessible by public transportation.

Longtime Gay Activist Cleve Jones: Corporate Money Is Destroying LGBT Organizations

In an interview with Edge Boston  longtime gay activist Cleve Jones, a close friend of Harvey Milk,  claimed that he fears the LGBT movement may be losing its way and that corporate money has too strong an influence.

The HRC,  GLAAD, and the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force  is “either remarkably tone deaf, and incredibly cynical or it was maybe bought and paid for.” Jones said as  pointed to the brouhaha over the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s initial endorsement of AT&T’s decision to merge with cell phone service provider T-Mobile and HRC’s appointment of Goldman Sachs (the corporation which started the current economic countdown) CEO Lloyd Blankfeild as a spokesperson for its national marriage equality campaign.  Jones fears that corporations that pour large amounts of money into the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and other national LGBT organizations have turned the groups into nothing more than “corporations”

Asked if he though President Barack Obama will endorse marriage equality before the November election, Jones said “I kind of doubt it. But I will vote from him, I will campaign for him.  With all of his problems, he is infinitely better than what the other party has to offer.”