$30 for 30 Years

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,
Paul Kawata
30 Years of Service