Equality Utah’s political action committee board is hosting their annual PAC Brunch at Red Butte Garden’s Orangerie. Long-time gay activist Cleve Jones will be keynote speaker to discuss the rise of the LGBTQ movement and his new book, When We Rise, that chronicles losing his friend Harvey Milk and countless others to the AIDS epidemic. He overcame these devastating losses to become a leader in the movement. Copies of the book will be provided at the event, followed by a book signing.In 1971, while ditching gym class to hole up in his high school library in Phoenix, Jones read a story in Life with the headline “Homosexuals in Revolt,” a report on the burgeoning gay liberation movement that portrayed San Francisco as a new queer mecca. “I am pretty sure that was the exact moment I stopped planning to kill myself,” Jones writes in his book. He hitchhiked to San Francisco in 1973 with $42 to his name. Only 19, he had already picketed alongside the United Farm Workers, distributed petitions for the Equal Rights Amendment, protested the Vietnam War, and campaigned for Senator Eugene McCarthy in the 1968 presidential election. When in San Francisco, he was part of Harvey Milk’s many campaigns to become city supervisor. When Milk was assassinated, Jones organized the massive candlelight vigil in his honor. As the AIDS epidemic decimated San Francisco’s gay community, Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Project and started the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, which was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and today has over 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels.
“During the 2016 election season we successfully assisted 17 candidates to win their elections,” EU leaders said in a statement. “These candidates are vital to our success in passing policies that support and protect LGBTQ Utahns. Equality Utah is committed to securing equal rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Utahns and their families. Our multi-faceted approach includes education, advocacy and political action.”
The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Red Butte Garden Orangerie. Tickets are available fro $100 at Equt.org/EUPACbrunch.