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Cleve Jones          

AIDS and LGBT Activist

Cleve Jones’s career as an activist began in San Francisco during the turbulent 1970s, when he befriended pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk. Following Milk's election, Jones worked as an intern in Milk's office while studying political science at San Francisco State University. He is the founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and a sought after speaker and activist for AIDS awareness, treatment, and education.

One of the first to recognize the threat of AIDS, Jones is the co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He was elected to three terms on the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, and served on commissions for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention as well as the Mission Mental Health Community Advisory Board, where he supported communities affected by mental illness, substance abuse, and chemical dependence.

Jones was the creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, an ongoing community arts project that memorializes the lives on individuals lost to AIDS.

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Stitching a Revolution

From the 1960’s anti-war movement and the earliest days of the gay civil rights movement to his current work on behalf of textile, hotel and restaurant workers, Cleve Jones has been at the forefront of causes he believes in. Best known as the creator of the AIDS Quilt, Jones endured much skepticism and opposition when he conceived of the idea. At the time, AIDS was a taboo subject, misunderstood, feared, and sparking ostracism, isolation, and violent acts. And worst of all, there was no action from the government or medical establishment. Jones’s courage, passion and refusal to let this epidemic be ignored moved him to action, and most importantly, it brought awareness, funds and response. While the story of the quilt has inspired so many thousands of people, Jones’s presentation is about a much bigger picture. His story is about the power each person has to make a positive difference-- no matter what the issue-- and how to overcome naysayers and skeptics to speak out and take action. Consistently rated as the top speaker wherever he appears, Jones is touching, funny, authentic and relatable.

  • The Story of the Quilt

  • The History of AIDS

  • Diversity in the Workplace

  • The LGBT Revolution

  • Harvey Milk: The Man

News


Legendary Human Rights Leader Cleve Jones to Keynote San ...

Famed AIDS and LGBT activist Cleve Jones to deliver keynote address at the San Antonio AIDS Foundation's 30th anniversary fundraising luncheon and auc.

How one man's idea for the AIDS quilt made the country pay attention

The project was the idea of Cleve Jones, a San Francisco gay rights activist. This article is adapted from Jones's book “When We Rise: My Life in the Movement,” ...

Almost 30 years later, people are still affected by the AIDS Memorial ...

LGBT activist Cleve Jones wanted to change the discourse. He wanted the nation to recognize the spread of HIV as a public health crisis. He created the AIDS ...

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