The Advocate marked the fourth decade of the AIDS crisis by revisiting some of the people who have been there since day one:
“Mr. Reagan, did you explain…that sometimes ignorant people act is such a way [toward people with AIDS] that is frightening… How long is it going to take before people get smart…educated people? We’re not talking about illiterate people. We’re talking about senators and congressmen and the fucking president.”
Actress Whoopi Goldberg, speaking at the 1987 March On Washington. November 10, 1987.
“Now I deal regularly with the phenomenon of young men who come up after a concert, with tears in their eyes, and say, ‘I just want to thank you.’ And without them saying it, I know they’ve had a friend who has died of AIDS.”
Folksinger and songwriter Joan Baez. August 18, 1987.
“It’s so beautiful. I think it is a strengthening and empowering statement of hope and remembrance. If people come away from here with anything, I want it to be love. I want people who come here to understand that even as this epidemic continues, we’re loving people, we take care of each other, and we’ve got the strength and the will to beat this disease.”
Activist Cleve Jones at the launch of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the 1987 March On Washington. November 10, 1987.
“At first, I waited politely for the president to respond to the epidemic…. After about a year, I realized the government wasn’t going to do anything, so I started doing safer-sex education with community-based AIDS organizations. By 1985, it was becoming clear that we needed to take this a step further, that civil disobedience would be as important as caregiving if we wanted real change.”
Waiyde Palmer, an activist who helped organize and AIDS protest during the 1989 San Francisco Opera performance of Falstaff.
“What we don’t need is another study. What we need is leadership, and…once again, the president is hiding.”
US representative Henry Waxman, a longtime critic of President Ronald Reagan’s inaction on AIDS. September 13, 1988.
“Now that I’ve resigned myself to living, how am I going to make something of it? There’s a question I ask myself and ask of everybody who is struggling to heal themselves, everybody who is dealing with AIDS, dealing with being gay, dealing with this painful world: ‘Where is your passion? Why do you love, and what are you doing about it?'”
Choreographer Bill T. Jones. February 27, 1990.