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 us what we should be interested in.

AIDS was first clinically observed in 1981 in the United States. The medical community noted it in intravenous drug uses and gay men.

That being the case, it was easy for a society marked by homophobia to discount the illness’s fatal effects or describe it as divine retribution.

We ignored AIDS; so did most media.

Remembering Ryan White

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

Remembering Ryan White

13 Years Later

In late 1984, Ryan White came down with pneumonia and on December 17  during a lung biopsy procedure, doctors diagnosed him  with AIDS.  His prognosis 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. (NYT article)

Remembering Ryan White

Kept out of school

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

On the first day of school, August 26, 1985,  Ryan 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 must 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.

Remembering Ryan White

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 (NYT article); 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. (NYT article)

Remembering Ryan White

Continued opposition

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. (NYT article)

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.

Remembering Ryan White

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 urinating 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.

Remembering Ryan White

Cicero

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. (NYT article)

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. (2016 PBS article on White)

Remembering Ryan White

Funeral

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]

Remembering Ryan White

Gravesite

His family buried him in Cicero.

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.

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.

Remembering Ryan White

Controversy Continues

As governor of Indiana, current Vice President Mike Pense, hesitated in his support of the Ryan White Cares Act unless the disproved 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.
Remembering Ryan White

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

October 11, 2018: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that approximately $2.34 billion in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants were awarded to cities, counties, states, and local community-based organizations in fiscal year (FY) 2018.

This funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports a comprehensive system of HIV primary medical care, medication, and essential support services to more than half a million people living with HIV in the United States.

Remembering Ryan White
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December 6 Music et al

December 6 Music et al

Brian Epstein

December 6, 1961: The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best) meet with Brian Epstein for further discussions about his proposal to manage them. He wants 25 percent of their gross fees each week, in return for which he will be responsible for arranging their bookings. He promises that their bookings will be better organized, more prestigious, and will expand beyond the Liverpool area. He also promises that they will never again play for less than 15 pounds, except for Cavern lunchtime sessions, for which he will get their fee doubled to ten pounds. Most important of all, he promises to get them out of their recording contract with Bert Kaempfert in Germany, then use his influence to garner them a contract with a major British label. John Lennon, as leader of The Beatles, accepts on their behalf. There is no contract signing at this point, because the standard contracts are so exploitive that Epstein is disgusted by them; he promises The Beatles that he will prepare a fairer document. (see Dec 9)

December 6 Music et al

1st Beatles Christmas record

December 6, 1963, The Beatles released their first Christmas recording: The Beatles Christmas Record. (see Dec 7)


December 6 Music et al

Rubber Soul

December 6 Music et al

December 6, 1965, US release of Rubber Soul.  The American version differed markedly from the UK release. Capitol removed the tracks “Drive My Car,” “Nowhere Man,” “What Goes On,” and “If I Needed Someone,” and replaced them with two from the UK Help! album, “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “It’s Only Love.” The song sequence,  placing the Help! tracks at the beginning of each side, Rubber Soul appeared as a “folk rock” album to angle The Beatles into that emergent American genre during 1965. The changes angered the Beatles. (Beatles, see Dec 17; see Rubber Soul for more)

December 6 Music et al

Beggars BanquetDecember 6 Music et al

December 6, 1968: The Rolling Stones released Beggars Banquet album.

 

December 6 Music et al

Altamont Free Concert

December 6 Music et al

December 6, 1969: (at the Altamont Speedway in northern California, between Tracy and Livermore) headlined and organized by The Rolling Stones, it also featured, in order of appearance: Santana, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Jefferson Airplane, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with the Rolling Stones taking the stage as the final act. The Grateful Dead were also scheduled to perform, but declined to play shortly before their scheduled appearance due to the increasing violence at the venue (see Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet and NYT article)

December 6 Music et al

Steam

December 6 – 19, 1969:  “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” by Steam #1 on the Billboard Hot 1.

December 6 Music et al
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December 2 Music et al

December 2 Music et al

Beatles on TV

December 2, 1963: The Beatles appeared on one of the more popular TV shows in the UK, Morecambe and Wise. From the Beatles Bible site: In the morning they rehearsed their act prior to filming in the afternoon. The Beatles performed three songs to a small studio audience: This Boy, All My Loving and I Want To Hold Your Hand.

They were then joined by Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise for some banter and a light-hearted version of golden oldie Moonlight Bay.

The episode of The Morecambe And Wise Show was shown on the ITV network on Saturday 18 April 1964 at 8.25 pm. It was repeated on 24 July the following year on The Best Of Morecambe And Wise.

The audio recording of Moonlight Bay was released on Anthology 1 in 1995. (see Dec 4)

December 2 Music et al

Monkees

Daydream Believer

December 2 – December 29, 1967 – “Daydream Believer” by the Monkees #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100.

Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones LtdDecember 2 Music et al

December 2, 1967 – January 5, 1968 – The Monkees Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones Ltd. the Billboard #1 album.

December 2 Music et al

see Wonderwall Music for more

December 2, 1968: George Harrison’s Wonderwall Music album released. (see Dec 20)

December 2 Music et al

George Harrison/Delaney & Bonnie

December 2, 1969: on December 1, George Harrison had watched husband and wife act Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett perform at the Albert Hall in London. On December 2 he joined them on stage in Bristol, for his first stage appearance since The Beatles’ final concert on 29 August 1966. Freed from the attentions of Beatlemania, he was able to be a largely anonymous band member, although he did sing songs including Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby on at least one occasion. Harrison stayed on the tour for six dates until it ended. They played two shows each night, in Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool and Croydon. (see Dec 15)

December 2 Music et al

Thriller

December 2, 1983: MTV broadcasts Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video with a running time of 13 minutes and 42 seconds! (JIC, see September 22, 1992; Korematsu, see January 30, 2011)

December 2 Music et al
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