Cleve Jones, author of the memoir, “When We Rise,” in conversation with Richard Wolinsky, recorded during a benefit for KPFA on January 25, 2017. Excerpts from the Q&A following Cleve’s speech.
Cleve Jones is a ground-breaking LGBT and labor activist who came on the scene as one of the core group of people supporting Harvey Milk in his run for San Francisco Supervisor. Cleve later began the NAMES Project, the AIDS quilt, which helped bring the horrors of the AIDS epidemic to national consciousness and helped propel the discovery of the HIV cocktail, which turned a fatal disease into one that’s manageable.
Jones was portrayed by Emile Hirsch in Gus Van Sant’s Oscar-winning film, “MILK,” and was the historical consultant for the production. Jones led the 2009 National March for Equality in Washington, DC and served on the Advisory Board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which challenged California’s Proposition 8 in the US Supreme Court.
Cleve today is a labor organizer, working with hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE.