Author(s): Cleve Jones
Born in 1954, Cleve Jones was part of the last generation of gay people who grew up not knowing if there was anyone else on the entire planet who felt the same way he did. It wasn't until Jones was fourteen, flipping through the pages of Life magazine, when he saw the headline "Homosexuals in Revolt!" followed by several pages of text and photographs of the new gay rights movement, including photos of men marching with fists in the air through the streets of Greenwich Village, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, that he understood that he was part of a larger community. To say Cleve was thrilled to discover this movement is an understatement; it saved his life. In the early 1970s Cleve moved to San Francisco, a city whose beautiful streets, progressive politics, and sexually charged nightlife were drawing in thousands of young gay men every year from towns across America. After some time in Europe, Jones took an internship in Harvey Milk's City Hall office, and Milk would become Cleve's mentor, an experience that would bring Cleve the forefront of the gay rights movement (and make him a witness to Milk's 1978 assassination). With the onset of the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s Jones emerged as one the gay community's most outspoken activists - a role that continues to today. In 1983, Cleve co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and in 1987 founded The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, the world's largest community arts project. In 2009 he led the National March for Equality in Washington, D.C. From one of the most iconic living LGBTQ activists,WHEN WE RISE is a beautifully written memoir that brings to life the drama and heartbreak of the AIDS crisis - and the lost San Francisco and lost generation of men who came before it.