Remembering Ryan White

Remembering Ryan White

AIDS

Whatever the decade, whatever the century, the media provide us with what they think we are interested in, with what we buy and tell them we are interested in.

AIDS was first clinically observed in 1981 in the United States. The medical community first observed it in intravenous drug uses and gay men. That being the case, it was easy for many to discount the illness's fatal effects or describe it as divine retribution.

We ignored AIDS; so did most media.

Remembering Ryan White

Remembering Ryan White

 

Ryan White was born on December 9, 1971, at St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Kokomo, Indiana to Jeanne Elaine Hale and Hubert Wayne White. When he was 3 days old, doctors diagnosed White with severe Hemophilia A.

For treatment, he received weekly infusions of Factor VIII, a blood product created from pooled plasma of non-hemophiliacs, an  common treatment for hemophiliacs at the time

13 Years Later

Remembering Ryan White

In late 1984, Ryan White came down with pneumonia and on December 17  during a lung biopsy procedure, doctors diagnosed him  with AIDS.  His diagnosis was he had six months to live. He remained home for the rest of that school year.

Meanwhile research into the disease continued. On March 2, 1985, the federal government approved a screening test for AIDS that detected antibodies to the virus, allowing possibly contaminated blood to be excluded from the blood supply.

Kept out of school

Remembering Ryan White

Despite feeling strong enough to return to school, on June 30, 1985 Western School Corporation Superintendent James O. Smith, denied White admittance for everyone else's own protection. Whites' parents challenged the decision.

On the first day of school, August 26, 1985, He listened to his classes via telephone. 117 parents (from a school of 360 total students) and 50 teachers signed a petition encouraging school leaders to ban White from school. On October 2 the school principal upheld the decision to keep White out of school, but on November 25, the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) ruled that the district mus admit him.

The school board voted 7–0 to appeal Indiana Department of Education ruling. (December 17), but on February 6, 1986 the Indiana DOE again ruled White can attend school.

Ignore scientific evidence

Remembering Ryan White

Much evidence supported the DOE's decision. That month the New England Journal of Medicine published a study of 101 people who had spent three months living in close but non-sexual contact with people with AIDS. The study concluded that the risk of infection was "minimal to nonexistent," even when contact included sharing toothbrushes, razors, clothing, combs and drinking glasses; sleeping in the same bed; and hugging and kissing.

On February 13, 1986 the Howard County health officer determined White was fit for school; on February 19 Howard County judge refused to issue an injunction against White and on February 21, 1986 he  returned to school.  A different judge granted a restraining order that afternoon to again bar him. (see April 9)

Continued oppostion

In March 1986 White’s opponents held an auction in the school gymnasium to raise money to keep White out.

On April 9, 1986: White’s case was presented in U.S. Circuit Court and the next day Judge Jack R. O'Neill dissolved the February 21 restraining order.

White returned to school. Again.

When White was finally readmitted, a group of families withdrew their children and started an alternative school. Threats of violence and lawsuits persisted. According to White's mother, people on the street would often yell, "we know you're queer" at Ryan.

Before the next school year began, on July 18, 1986, the Indiana Court of Appeals declined to hear any further appeals in the White case.

Harrased 

White attended Western Middle School for eighth grade for the entire 1986–87 school year, but was deeply unhappy and had few friends. In 1988 White would speak before President Reagan’s AIDS Commission. At it he would state:
Even though we knew AIDS was not spread through casual contact. Nevertheless, parents of twenty students started their own school. They were still not convinced. Because of the lack of education on AIDS, discrimination, fear, panic, and lies surrounded me:

 

  • I became the target of Ryan White jokes
  • Lies about me biting people
  • Lies about me spitting on vegetables and cookies
  • Lies about me srinating on bathroom walls
  • Some restaurants threw away my dishes
  • My school locker was vandalized inside and folders were marked FAG and other obscenities.

          I was labeled a troublemaker, my mom an unfit mother, and I was not welcome anywhere. People would get up and  leave so they would not have to sit anywhere near me. Even at church, people would not shake my hand. (entire text)

 

Threats continued. After someone fired a bullet through the Whites' living room window, the family decided to move.

By this time the story had become an international one. Elton John loaned $16,500 to put toward a down payment on a new home in Cicero, Indiana. 

Cicero

Remembering Ryan White

On August 31, 1987 White enrolled at Hamilton Heights High School, Cicero, Indiana. The school principal Tony Cook, school system superintendent Bob G. Carnal, and students who had been educated about AIDS greeted him and shook his hand.

He drove to school in a red Mustang convertible, a gift from Michael Jackson.

On March 29, 1990. spring of his senior year, White entered Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis with a respiratory infection and on  April 8, 1990 White died.

Remembering Ryan White
On April 11, over 1,500 people attended White's funeral at the Second Presbyterian Church on in Indianapolis.  White's pallbearers included Elton John, Howie Long and Phil Donahue. Elton John performed "Skyline Pigeon" at the funeral.

Also attending was Michael Jackson and First Lady Barbara Bush. On the day of the funeral, former President Ronald Reagan wrote a tribute to White that appeared in The Washington Post. In part Reagan said:
“We owe it to Ryan to make sure that the fear and ignorance that chased him from his home and his school will be eliminated. We owe it to Ryan to open our hearts and our minds to those with AIDS. We owe it to Ryan to be compassionate, caring and tolerant toward those with AIDS, their families and friends. It’s the disease that’s frightening, not the people who have it.” [Full text]

His family buried him in Cicero.

Remembering Ryan White

In the year following his death, his grave was vandalized on four occasions.

Remembering Ryan White

Legacy

Rather than accept repayment Sir Elton placed the repaid money into a college fund for Ryan's sister.

On August 18, 1990 President George Bush signed the Ryan White Care Act, a federally funded program for people living with AIDS.

On May 20, 1996 Congress reauthorized the Ryan White CARE Act.

Remembering Ryan White

On October 30, 2009 President Obama signed The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. Obama  announced plans to remove a ban on travel and immigration to the U.S. by individuals with HIV. Obama called the 22-year ban a decision "rooted in fear rather than fact."

For complete information about the Ryan White CARES Act visit: Ryan White Cares Act.

Controversy Continues

As governor of Indiana, current Vice President Mike Pense, hesitated in his support of the Ryan White Cares Act unless disproved and homophobic "conversion therapy" was integral to the program:
Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

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April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8 Peace Love Activism

BLACK HISTORY

US Labor History

April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8, 1911: the Banner Mine near Birmingham exploded, killing 128 convicts leased to the Pratt Consolidated Coal Company. A local newspaper listed the crimes of the victims next to their names: vagrancy, weapons violations, bootlegging, and gambling. A rural newspaper observed, “Several negroes from this section . . . were caught in the Banner mine explosion. That is a pretty tight penalty to pay for selling booze.”

By 1910, the State of Alabama had become the sixth largest coal producer in the United States. Between 1875 and 1900, Alabama’s coal production grew from 67,000 tons to 8.4 million tons. This growth was driven in large part by the expansion of convict leasing in the state; in Birmingham, the center of the state’s coal production, more than 25 percent of miners were leased convicts. In addition, more than 50 percent of all miners in the state had learned to mine while working as convicts.

State officials quickly learned how to use the convict leasing system to disproportionately exploit black people. In an average year, 97 percent of Alabama’s county convicts were black. When coal companies’ labor needs increased, local police swept small-town streets for vagrants, gamblers, drunks, and thieves, targeting hundreds of black Alabamians for arrest. These citizens were then tried and convicted, sentenced to sixty- or ninety-days hard labor plus court costs, and handed over to the mines. Employers frequently held and worked convicts well beyond their scheduled release dates since local officials had no incentive to intervene and prisoners lacked the resources and power to demand enforcement.

Conditions in the mines were deplorable. Convicts were often chained together in ankle-deep water, working 12- to 16-hour shifts with no breaks, and surviving on fistfuls of spoiled meat and cornbread stuffed into the rags they wore for uniforms. Describing the experience, a black former convict laborer recalled that the prisoners had slept in their chains, covered with “filth and vermin,” and the powder cans used as slop jars frequently overflowed and ran over into their beds.

Prisoner safety was not a priority for the mines’ owners and operators. (LH, see Apr 27; BH, see “in 1912”)
Scottsboro Boys Travesty
April 8 - 9, 1931: Olen Montgomery, Ozie Powell, Willie Roberson, Eugene Williams, and Andy Wright were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. (see Apr 9)
FREE SPEECH blocked
April 8, 1964: the Mississippi legislature enacted the Mississippi Anti-Picketing Law, which, as amended, prohibited "picketing . . . in such a manner as to obstruct or unreasonably interfere with free ingress or egress to and from any county . . . courthouses. . . ." (see Apr 9)
Black Lives Matter

April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8, 2015: North Charleston, S.C. officer, Michael T. Slager, who was arrested after shooting and killing an unarmed black man, was fired from the department and the police chief said that he was appalled by what a video of the encounter revealed.

“I have watched the video and I was sickened by what I saw,” Eddie Driggers, the North Charleston police chief, told reporters, at an emotional and often chaotic news conference, with protesters repeatedly shouting and interrupting. “And I have not watched it since.” Asked whether the proper protocols were followed after the shooting, Chief Driggers said, “Obviously not.” (see June 8)

Voting Rights

April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8, 1914:  the 17th amendment to the Constitution, providing for the popular election of U.S. senators, was ratified. (see May 2)

US Labor History

Works Progress Administration

April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8, 1935: Congress approved the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the work relief bill that funded the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Created by President Franklin Roosevelt to relieve the economic hardship of the Great Depression, this national works program (renamed the Work Projects Administration beginning in 1939) employed more than 8.5 million people on 1.4 million public projects before it was disbanded in 1943. The WPA employed skilled and unskilled workers in a great variety of work projects—many of which were public works projects such as creating parks, and building roads and bridges, and schools and other public structures. (see July 27)
Steel strike

April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8, 1952: President Harry S. Truman ordered the U.S. Army to seize the nation’s steel mills to avert a strike. (see February 18, 1953)
Joseph A. Yablonski
April 8, 1974: the prosecution closed its case in the murder trial of W. A. Boyle, the former head of the United Mine Workers of America, after the state's key witness testified that he had heard Mr. Boyle give the orders in 1969 to "take care of" Joseph A. Yablonski. (see Apr 11)

April 8 Music et al

Soldier Boy
April 8, 1960: Elvis records “Soldier Boy” as part of his first post-military service album. (see Apr 20)

 
Beatles back in Hamburg
April 8, 1962: Beatles leave once again for Hamburg, Germany. They would shortly return back home after learning of a pending record deal with Parlophone. (see April 10)
Julian Lennon

April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8, 1963: Julian Lennon born to John and Cynthia. (see Apr 13)
Lawrence of Arabia

April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8, 1963, 1962 Oscars held.  Frank Sinatra hosts. Lawrence of Arabia, with ten nominations and seven Oscars, was the Best Film winner.  This was the first of four British-made films that won the top Best Picture Oscar in the decade of the 1960s. The other three were Tom Jones (1963),  A Man For All Seasons (1966), and Oliver! (1968).
John Lennon’s Rolls Royce
April 8, 1967: John Lennon took his Rolls Royce to coachbuilders J.P. Fallon Ltd in Surrey to inquire if they could paint his car in psychedelic colors. This was based on an idea by Marijke Koger ("The Fool" who was a member of Dutch team of gypsy artists). J.P. Fallon commissioned Steve Weaver's pattern of scroll and flowers for the Phantom V. The cost for having the work done came in at £2,000. A custom interior/exterior sound system was also installed as well as a Sony television; telephone (WEYBRIDGE 46676) and a portable refrigerator. (see Apr 19)
Marijuana
April 8, 1968:  Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs established by President Johnson. (see May 19, 1969)
April 8 Peace Love Activism

Vietnam

Operation Pegasus

April 8 Peace Love Activism

April 8, 1968: U.S. forces in Operation Pegasus finally retake Route 9, ending the siege of Khe Sanh. A 77 day battle, Khe Sanh had been the biggest single battle of the Vietnam War to that point. The official assessment of the North Vietnamese Army dead is just over 1,600 killed, with two divisions all but annihilated. But thousands more were probably killed by American bombing. (see April 11)

Women’s Health

April 8, 1970: in a 51 – 45 vote, the US Senate voted down G Harrold Carswell's Supreme Court nomination. Seventeen Democrats and twenty-eight Republicans voted for Carswell. Thirty-eight Democrats and thirteen Republicans voted against him. President Nixon accused Democrats of having an anti-Southern bias as a result saying, "After the Senate’s action yesterday in rejecting Judge Carswell, I have reluctantly concluded that it is not possible to get confirmation for the judge on the Supreme Court of any man who believes in the strict construction of the Constitution as I do, if he happens to come from the South." (see April 14)
Eric Rudolph
April 8, 2005: the Dept of Justice announced that Eric Rudolph (see January 16) had agreed to a plea bargain under which he would plead guilty to all charges he was accused of in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. The deal was confirmed after the FBI found 250 pounds of dynamite he hid in the forests of North Carolina. His revealing the hiding places of the dynamite was a condition of his plea agreement. He made his pleas in person in Birmingham and Atlanta courts on April 13. (see July 18)

Sexual Abuse of Children

Rev Paul Shanley
April 8, 2002:  file released on the Rev Paul Shanley, alleging he publicly advocated sex between men and boys and still received the backing of the archdiocese for his ministry. (see April 23)

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April 8 Music et al

April 8 Music et al

Elvis Soldier Boy
April 8, 1960: Elvis recorded “Soldier Boy” as part of his first post-military service album. (see Apr 20)

 
Julian Lennon

April 8 Music et al

April 8, 1963: Julian Lennon born. The Beatles were on tour at and John Lennon didn't see his son until 11 April. On this evening the group were in the south of England, performing at the Swimming Baths in Leyton, London.(see Apr 13)
April 8 Music et al
Lawrence of Arabia

April 8 Music et al

April 8, 1963, 1962 Oscars held.  Frank Sinatra hosts. Lawrence of Arabia, with ten nominations and seven Oscars, was the Best Film winner.  This was the first of four British-made films that won the top Best Picture Oscar in the decade of the 1960s. The other three were Tom Jones (1963),  A Man For All Seasons (1966), and Oliver! (1968).
John Lennon’s Rolls Royce
April 8, 1967: John Lennon took his Rolls Royce to coachbuilders J.P. Fallon Ltd in Surrey to inquire if they could paint his car in psychedelic colors. This was based on an idea by Marijke Koger ("The Fool" who was a member of Dutch team of gypsy artists). J.P. Fallon commissioned Steve Weaver's pattern of scroll and flowers for the Phantom V. The cost for having the work done came in at £2,000. A custom interior/exterior sound system was also installed as well as a Sony television; telephone (WEYBRIDGE 46676) and a portable refrigerator. (see Apr 19)
Marijuana
April 8, 1968:  Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs established by President Johnson. It is the predecessor agency of the modern Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 

It was formed as a subsidiary of the US Department of Justice, combining the Bureau of Narcotics (from the United States Department of the Treasury) and Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (from the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's Food and Drug Administration) into one agency. (see May 19, 1969)

April 8 Music et al, April 8 Music et al, April 8 Music et al, April 8 Music et al, April 8 Music et al, 

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