Sunday, October 25, 2009

Activist Cleve Jones on Gay Leadership

In the conclusion of this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson talks with veteran Gay Activist Cleve Jones about LGBT leadership in America. Recently Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBT lobbying organization has come under fire for statements he made about the timeline for our LGBT civil rights. Congressman Barney Frank has also been criticized for statements he made that seem to be undermining LGBT grassroots efforts. Jones gives an historic retrospect of our LGBT movement dating back to the late seventies beginning with his work with Activist Harvey Milk. “ Something terrible happened to our movement. Something terrible happened to our leadership and that terrible thing was AIDS. In the late seventies this movement was growing. We were this early first generation movement that was just gaining power. Then we experienced the loss of Harvey Milk. We survived that. We began to grow in number and power and then we were hit with a pandemic.” Jones explains that during that time we lost an enormous number of leaders to AIDS and those who survived were required to create infrastructure to build services that the government failed to provide. Jones believes that this changed everything, “Our leaders now tend to be bureaucrats, they’re administrators of these massive programs. Their job is to keep the money flowing. These aren’t bad people, they’re good people. They are cautious by nature, conservative and focused by necessity on not to rock the boat so the money keeps coming. I find this frustrating. These people need to be there to do the work but they’re not the folks that should be devising our political strategies. For that we need visionaries. We need people who are willing to take risks and who are bold.”
Part 1: Gay Activist Cleve Jones Federal Agenda
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