This year the San Francisco organizers invited Charles King — the president and CEO of Housing Works — to give the keynote speech at the City by the Bay’s observance of this day of the World AIDS Day.
Doug Ireland wrote:
If you do only one thing for World AIDS Day this year, read Charles King’s speech in San Francisco, reprinted below. It’s an impassioned challenge to the institutional gay community, which has largely turned away from the AIDS fight, and it analyzes the nexus of class and race that is at the heart of the gay community’s current AIDS fatigue.
Charles King said:
The reality of AIDS is that it is caused by a virus; but that virus would not have created the pandemic that now exists if it were not fueled by homophobia, racism, and sexism. AIDS is a disease that persists as a consequence of economic and social marginalization and discrimination. Whether it was gay men and then Haitians in the 80’s, or sex workers and people addicted to injection drugs today, AIDS has been able to wreck its havoc because it has in the main taken the lives of people deemed expendable. And that is why AIDS continues to be the preeminent civil rights issue of our day, whether we want to own it or not.
Read CHARLES KING’S CHALLENGE TO THE GAY COMMUNITY: STOP IGNORING AIDS! The full text of King’s World AIDS Day keynote speech in San Francisco.
by Doug Ireland ~ December 01, 2007