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AIDS and Activism – Part I

November 26, 2012

This is the first in a series of postings that deal with the theme of AIDS and Activism. The first posting is the chapter – AIDS in the Gay Community in Grand Rapids – from the film, A People’s History of the LGBTQ Community in Grand Rapids.

In this segment of the film we discover that AIDS activism began in the early 80s and was primarily taken on by the gay community. Larry Abbott talks about how the first organizing took place, how much of their funding came from the gay community and its allies and how groups like the United Way would not fund AIDS work at that time.

In addition, the video has Rev. Bruce Roller talking about ministering to the people dying of AIDS and the difficulty in finding a funeral home that would take the bodies of those who died from AIDS.

Jan Koopman, former director of the AIDS Resource Center, talks about the work in the 90s and Jeanne Marshall talks about the first AIDS Walk in Grand Rapids. The video ends with Drew Stoppels talking about more recent organizing efforts around HIV/AIDS in Grand Rapids.

There is also footage of TV news stories on the AIDS Quilt in Grand Rapids and stories of some of those who had a quilt made in their honor.

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