Category Archives: AIDS

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

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 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

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. 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

 

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. (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

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]

Remembering Ryan White

Gravesite

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

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.

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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September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

DEATH PENALTY

Feminism

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

September 22, 1692: Ann Pudeator, Martha Corey (whose husband had been pressed to death on September 19), Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, Wilmott Redd, Margaret Scott and Samuel Wardwell were hanged for witchcraft; the Rev. Nicholas Noyes called them “eight firebrands of hell.”  It was the last executions in the Salem witch craze of 1692. [Streets of Salem article] (see October)

September 22 Peace Love Activism September 22 Peace Love Activism September 22 Peace Love Activism
 September 22 Peace Love Activism  September 22 Peace Love Activism  September 22 Peace Love Activism
September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Emancipation Proclamation

September 22, 1862: motivated by his growing concern for the inhumanity of slavery as well as practical political concerns, President Abraham Lincoln changed the course of the Civil War by issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

The measure did not technically free any slaves, but it expanded the Union’s war aim from reunification to include the abolition of slavery. The proclamation announced that all slaves in territory that was still in rebellion as of January 1, 1863, would be free. (see January 1, 1863)

Atlanta massacre

September 22 Peace Love Activism

September 22, 1906: after local newspapers reported alleged assaults on four white women by black men, mobs of angry white men gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, streets with the goal of attacking and killing any black man they found. The mobs seized upon street cars, trapped black male passengers, and killed the men by shooting them or brutally beating them to death. When the street cars stopped running, the rioters ransacked black businesses, beating or killing the people inside. The armed white men also chased black men through hotels and white-owned businesses, shooting and killing them in the hallways. The police and fire departments were called upon to quell the unrest but failed, as did the militia.

When asked what he could do to end the violence, Atlanta Mayor James Woodward replied, “The only remedy is to remove the cause. As long as the black brutes assault our white women, just so long will they be unceremoniously dealt with.” Woodward’s ambivalence empowered the mobs and the massacre continued. For a total of four days, black people were chased, beaten, shot, and hung throughout Atlanta and its surroundings. When black citizens of Brownville, a nearby suburb, attempted to arm themselves in defense, Georgia troops raided their homes, taking weapons and arresting those in possession of them. After four days of riots, between 25 and 40 people were dead and countless more were injured. (Georgia encyclopedia article)

Lugenia Burns Hope

September 22 Peace Love Activism

In 1908: Lugenia Burns Hope created the Neighborhood Union, the first woman-run social welfare agency for African Americans in Atlanta, which provided medical, recreational, employment, and educational services and became known for its community building and race and gender activism. [Georgia Encyclopedia article] (see Mar 30)

Black Power

September 22 Peace Love Activism

September 22, 1954: Richard Wright’s book, Black Power, published. It is a non-fiction account of Wright’s trip to Africa’s Gold Coast before it became the free nation of Ghana.

It is the first known use of the phrase Black Power. [Kirkus review] (see “in October”)

Freedom Riders

September 22, 1961: the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) issued a ruling enforcing the desegregation of interstate travel. The ruling removed “whites only” signs from terminals and enforced the end of segregated seating on interstate bus transit effective November 1, 1961. [related Oyez aticle]  (BH, see Sept 25; Freedom Riders, see Nov 1)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

INDEPENDENCE DAYS

Bulgaria

September 22 Peace Love Activism

September 22, 1908: Bulgaria independent from the Ottoman Empire. (see December 29, 1911)

Mali

September 22 Peace Love Activism

September 22, 1960: Mali independent from France. (see ID for the many other 1960s Independence days)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

Feminism

Immigration History

September 22, 1922: the Cable Act, (the Married Women’s Independent Nationality Act) significantly improved gender equality in nationality law by providing that American women would no longer lose their U.S. citizenship upon marriage to a foreigner—a reversal of the 1907 Expatriation Act, which had essentially declared American women’s citizenship dependent upon their husbands’.  [NWP article] (Feminism, see Nov 21; IH, see May 26, 1924; Cabel Act, see May 24, 1934)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

Vietnam

September 22, 1940:  France’s Vichy government (the German collaborators) signed an armistice with Germany. The allied Germany and Japan allowed Vichy France to controlled most French overseas possessions, including Indochina. Japan agreed to allow Japan to station soldiers in Tonkin. During World War II Japan stationed a large number of soldiers and sailors in Vietnam although the French administrative structure was allowed to continue to function. (see Dec 23)

My Lai Massacre

September 22 Peace Love Activism

September 22, 1971: Captain Ernest Medina was acquitted of all charges [murder, manslaughter, and assault ] relating to the My Lai massacre of March 1968. His unit, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade (Light) of the 23rd (Americal) Division, was charged with the murder of over 200 Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, at My Lai 4, a cluster of hamlets that made up Son My village in Son Tinh District in Quang Ngai Province in the coastal lowlands of I Corps Tactical Zone.

All charges were dropped when the military judge at the Medina’s court martial made an error in instructing the jury. (next Vietnam, see Oct 29; see Mai Lai for expanded story)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

Cold War

McCarran Act

September 22, 1950: although vetoed by President Truman, the Senate overrode his veto 89 – 11 and the McCarran Act, or Internal Security Act of 1950 became law.  Among other things, it authorized the creation of concentration camps “for emergency situations.” (Encyclopedia dot com article) (see Dec 9)

Peace Corps

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

September 22, 1961: in an important victory for his Cold War foreign policy, President John F. Kennedy signed legislation establishing the Peace Corps as a permanent government agency. Kennedy believed that the Peace Corps could provide a new and unique weapon in the war against communism. [Peace Corps site] (see Oct 4 – 9)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ

Oliver W. Sipple

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

September 22, 1975: President Gerald Ford survived a second assassination attempt. Sara Jane Moore had stood among a crowd outside the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco and was about 40 feet away from Mr. Ford as she aimed a .38-caliber pistol at him. Oliver W. Sipple, a former marine who was standing next to her, knocked her arm upward as she fired, sending the bullet well over Mr. Ford’s head; it ricocheted off a building and slightly injured a person in the crowd. (see Sipple for more about his story)

Domestic partnership statute

September 22, 1999: California became the first state to create a domestic partnership statute, allowing same-sex couples to receive some, but not all, of the protections afforded by marriage. The statute has been expanded over time to include more of the protections afforded to different-sex couples, although it is no substitute for marriage itself. [Overall history]  (see Dec 9)

Louisiana

September 22, 2014: Louisiana state Judge Edward Rubin ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, in part because it violated equal protection rights. Rubin said the ban violated the 14th Amendment and the constitutional requirement that states give “full faith and credit” to each other’s laws. His ruling came in same-sex adoption case of Angela Costanza and her partner, Chasity Brewer.

The judge said Constanza could adopt her partner’s son and be listed as a parent on his birth certificate. The couple’s lawsuit said the state should recognize their marriage, which took place in California.

Laura Gerdes, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, said the office disagreed with the ruling and started the appeals process. [NOLA article] (see Oct 6)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

IRAQ

September 22, 1980: the command council of Iraq ordered its army to “deliver its fatal blow on Iranian military targets,” initiating the Iran–Iraq War. (see June 7, 1981)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

September 22, 1985: first Farm Aid Concert was held at Champaign, Illinois. The concert was staged to “raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land” and  featured a performers from the worlds of country, folk and rootsy rock music. There were the three main organizers: Bob Dylan, for instance, along with Hoyt Axton, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell and Charley Pride. But the first Farm Aid, more than any of the annual Farm Aid concerts since, was a bit of a stylistic free-for-all, featuring artists united only by their interest in supporting a good cause. “As soon as I read in the paper that there was gonna be such a thing,” Sammy Hagar told MTV’s cameras on the day of the show, “I called my manager and said, ‘I wanna do it.’ And he said, ‘It’s all country.’ I said, ‘I don’t care. It’s America. I wanna do it.’ If there was anything more surprising than hearing Hagar perform his hard-rock anthem “I Can’t Drive 55″ on the same stage that had earlier featured the quiet folk of Arlo Guthrie, it was hearing Lou Reed perform “Walk On The Wild Side” on a stage that had featured John Denver. (see Oct 13)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

Irish Troubles

September 22, 1989: Deal barracks bombing: An IRA bomb explodes at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal, Kent, United Kingdom, leaving 11 dead and 22 injured. (see Troubles for expanded story)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

AIDS

September 22, 1995: CDC reviews Syringe Exchange Programs — United States, 1994-1995. The National Academy of Sciences concluded that syringe exchange programs should be regarded as an effective component of a comprehensive strategy to prevent infectious disease. (see Dec 6)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

STAND YOUR GROUND LAW

September 22, 2012: Kalispell, Montana. Dan Fredenberg, upset with Brice Harper’s romantic involvement with Fredenberg wife, walked through Mr. Harper’s open garage door. Harper aimed a gun at the unarmed Mr. Fredenberg, fired and struck him three times. Fredenberg was dead before morning. (see Oct 9)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

FREE SPEECH & Colin Kaepernick

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism

September 22, 2016: Time magazine featured Colin Kaepernick on the cover in its October 3 issue.

It featured Kaepernick kneeling in his full 49ers uniform. The issue included a cover story from Sean Gregory, where Kaepernick’s protest was a centerpiece in a larger conversation among athletes regarding sports activism and patriotism.

Also on September 22, Houston Texan’s Duane Brown raised a fist while standing during the national anthem

Brown didn’t play due to an injury, but did participate in the protest for the first time that season. He had been vocal about recent police shootings. [Time article] (FS & CK, see Oct 1)

September 22 Peace Love Art Activism
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