Fighting bigotry in Nova Scotia: AIDS activism in the eighties and nineties

Originally posted by Halifax Media Co-op
by Robert Devet

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An AIDS vigil at the Citadel in Halifax. A new website shows how people living with HIV/AIDS in Nova Scotia engaged in a along and vigorous battle against prejudice. Photo: Anita Martinez

An AIDS vigil at the Citadel in Halifax. A new website shows how people living with HIV/AIDS in Nova Scotia engaged in a long and vigorous battle against prejudice. Photo Anita Martinez KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Less than thirty years ago people living with HIV/AIDS in Canada agitated against widespread prejudice, ignorance and stigmatization in society and government. This was while treatment was in its infancy and people with AIDS were dying at horrific rates.

In Nova Scotia Eric Smith, a South Shore schoolteacher living with HIV, was banned from the classroom after parents threatened to keep their children at home.

Also in Nova Scotia, Simon Thwaites was discharged from the Navy for being HIV-positive. He successfully fought the discharge in a precedent-setting case arguing that discrimination based on disability is a human rights’ violation.

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AIDS Activist History Project posts interviews with Vancouver, Toronto & Nova Scotia activists

Originally posted to NB Media Co-op

3104752_orig.pngLess than thirty years ago, ordinary people living with HIV/AIDS, alongside allies, took action to resist stigma, change harmful government policies, and save one another’s lives. These people’s stories deserve to be remembered and learned from. We have posted complete transcripts along with short video clips of the first interviews conducted as part of the AIDS Activist History Project. We have also collected and made available extensive archival material, including photos, meeting minutes, and news articles from this time. It is all available through our website.This is only a beginning of recovering the stories of direct action oriented AIDS activism from 1985 to 1996 across ‘Canada’ that will include more interviews in these centres as well as the narratives of activists in Montreal and Ottawa. During these years AIDS activists changed the world. These interviews capture a sense of the power of this organizing and the energy and imagination of these activists. Along with these stories of resistance are stories of loss and pain as people died during these years because of state and professional neglect.
 Continue reading “AIDS Activist History Project posts interviews with Vancouver, Toronto & Nova Scotia activists”