2019 is my 30th Anniversary as the executive director of NMAC (formerly known as the National Minority AIDS Council). Nobody lasts 30 years in the same job anymore. I am a relic of the past and a symbol of the commitment of a generation of leaders who came of age during the early days of the epidemic. Please celebrate my 30th Anniversary by making a donation to NMAC for $30, $300, or $3,000. Your support will help build NMAC’s Center to End the Epidemic.
I came to Washington DC in 1985 to fight an epidemic. It was the start of President Regan’s second term. Margret Heckler, Secretary of HHS, said that we would have a vaccine in five years. I left my family and friends and moved across America not fully understanding how my life would change.
While I have a big imagination, no one could have dreamt of HIV. The horrors of the early days still haunt my dreams. I was just a kid, but I had to grow up quickly. Visiting hospitals, planning funerals, and trying to wrap my brain about a virus that was killing my friends and lovers. That would be my life until 1996 when I attended Dr. David Ho’s seminal lecture on Protease Inhibitors at the International AIDS Conference in Vancouver. Combination therapy moved HIV from a death sentence to sometime more manageable; however, let’s not pretend living with HIV is easy.
We are about to attempt the impossible: to end an epidemic without a cure or vaccine. For those of us who were part of the early days, this is a full circle moment. NMAC needs your support to be the leaders our movement needs. To speak truth to power requires nongovernment money. Please help me celebrate my 30th Anniversary with a gift of $30, $300, or $3,000. It is my honor to be NMAC’s executive director. Thank you for being part of this journey.
Yours in the struggle,
30 Years of Service