Thursday, April 19, 2012

CSPG’s Poster of the Week is dedicated to Pete Jimenez, who died of AIDS last week at age 48. Pete was an amazing person who was fearless, funny, outspoken, gutsy, dedicated and committed. He was the quintessential activist, focusing on AIDS, anti-war, homophobia, universal healthcare, and militarism.

Over 300,000 U.S. AIDS Deaths
Jeff Schuerholz; ACT UP/LA
Photocopy, 1996
Los Angeles, California

This poster was created for a demonstration on February 6th, 1996 in front of Chasen’s Restaurant, West Hollywood, where Ronald Reagan's 85th birthday/fund-raiser was being celebrated.

"We went there to spoil their party, the way they've spoiled our lives,"
said ACT UP Los Angeles member Pete Jimenez.

This was a very dramatic demonstration. Ronald Reagan did not attend the event for health reasons. 300 demonstrators banged drums, blew whistles shouted through bullhorns and created a very loud and boisterous disturbance about genocidal Republican AIDS policy. As Newt Gingrich, California governor Pete Wilson, Colin Powell, other Republican leaders and celebrities arrived, they were greeted with signs reading "You killed all my friends" and shouts of "Money for AIDS, not for dining!" Many demonstrators carried signs with a picture of Ronald Reagan and caption; "Over 300,000 US AIDS deaths - SHAME!" Several times the demonstrators surged toward the entrance of the restaurant only to be held back by the West Hollywood Sheriffs.

During his presidency, Reagan ignored his own Surgeon General and public health advisors, and allowed HIV/AIDS to spread unchecked with no concern for the mounting death toll.

The demonstration was organized by ACT UP/LA (the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power). Other participating groups included ACT UP/Ventura, WAC (Women's Action Coalition) Being Alive: People with HIV/AIDS Action Coalition, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and students from UCLA and LA High School for the Arts. Also Radical Fairies, The City AIDS Coordinators office of Los Angeles, members of the West Hollywood City council, some AIDS doctors, and scores of people with AIDS and their supporters.

This photo of Pete and Angela Davis was taken November 6, 2011, when Angela received CSPG’s Historian of the Lion’s Award.

To see a 2010 interview with Pete Jimenez and Jeff Schuerholz, President of CSPG’s Board, and Pete’s partner for more than 20 years, where they discuss this poster and more:

Two informative and moving obituaries:

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