Wednesday, April 15, 2015
GOLDEN GATE XPRESS -- SF State alum and AIDS activist Cleve Jones remembers the University during the 1980s when the epidemic began. By 1985 many members of the community were dead, dying or caring for loved ones who contracted the disease, Jones said. “SF State was hit very hard — almost all of the gay male students that I knew back then died,” Jones said. “As I talk (about it) I see all these faces in my mind of all these boys I went to school with who didn’t survive the epidemic.” After losing many friends to the disease, Jones created the AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1987 and dedicated the first panel to Marvin Feldman, a close friend and SF State student who died from AIDS-related causes. The quilt became the world’s largest community arts project with more than 48,000 panels added. Jones said when he was a student, many dismissed the threat of the disease believing it only affected gay people and African-Americans, which created a powerful negative stigma that still exists.