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social sciences

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Jones, Cleve (b. 1954)  
page: 1  2  

In 1987, Jones became executive director of the Names Project Foundation (NPF), which raised the money required to store, move, and display the quilt around the world. The NPF was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

In 1994, Jones was himself diagnosed as HIV-positive. He resigned as director of the NPF, and was given the position of founder and spokesperson and guaranteed health benefits for the remainder of his life. In 2001, the NPF relocated its offices and the quilt, which now weighs some 50 tons, to Atlanta.

Sponsor Message.

However, Jones and the new administration of NPF did not agree in regard to some basic policies, and in 2004, when he complained publicly, he was dismissed from his position.

Jones had always felt it important to display the quilt in different locations, so that a wide variety of people could see it. The new leadership of NPF, Jones asserted, only sought to create a museum to house the memorial.

Jones filed suit against NPF, alleging wrongful dismissal. His suit asked that NPF be placed in receivership and that the quilt be returned to San Francisco and once again be deployed in the fight against AIDS.

After being accused of reneging on their promise to provide Jones with life-time health benefits, NPF promised that it would honor its agreement.

In December 2005, the suit was settled, with each party receiving some satisfaction. Jones was awarded 280 of the original quilt panels for display around the San Francisco Bay Area under the management of a new organization, San Francisco Friends of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. He was also granted sole discretion to nominate four people to fill two new positions on the NPF board of directors. Further, NPF agreed to provide an official link to his organization on their web site.

For its part, NPF was granted the right to manage the remainder of the quilt as it sees fit.

In 2004, Jones became director of the Los Angeles SHANTI Foundation. SHANTI, named for the Sanskrit word for inner peace, offers practical and emotional support to people with life-threatening or chronic diseases. In his new position, Jones continues his community-based activism.

Among the awards Jones has received is the Harvard AIDS Institute's AIDS Leadership Award.

[Jones is depicted by actor Emile Hirsch in Gus Van Sant's 2008 film biography of Harvey Milk, Milk. Jones, who urged Van Sant to make the movie, served as a consultant to the filmmaker. He has described Milk as a beautiful film that authentically recreates the time and spirit it depicts.

In 2009, Jones and veteran activist David Mixner called for a National Equality March to refocus the gay rights movement from a strategy based on incremental local gains to a national strategy aimed at winning equality at the federal level.

Although the National Equality March was hastily organized and promoted largely through bloggers on the Internet, it attracted upward of 250,000 participants to Washington, D. C. on October 11, 2009. Expressing impatience with the lack of action by the Obama administration to fulfill the promises made during the presidential campaign of 2008, the speakers, including Jones, demanded full equality under the law for glbtq citizens of the United States.]

Tina Gianoulis

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social sciences >> Overview:  AIDS Activism

In the United States, glbtq people have played an integral and often leading role in AIDS activism, greatly influencing AIDS treatment and advocacy.

arts >> Overview:  AIDS Activism in the Arts

In response to the AIDS epidemic, a number of activist groups, including Gran Fury and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, have used art as a means to raise awareness about the epidemic.

social sciences >> Overview:  Marches on Washington

Marches on Washington in support of the rights of glbtq people have been a significant part of the modern movement for equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  San Francisco

San Francisco has enjoyed a reputation as a "gay mecca" since World War II.

arts >> Black, Dustin Lance

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has quickly established himself as both an accomplished filmmaker and a committed activist.

social sciences >> GetEqual

The direct action group GetEqual has gained attention by its bold action, including civil disobedience, on behalf of equal rights for glbtq people.

social sciences >> Griffin, Chad

Chad Griffin co-founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights to sponsor a legal challenge to Proposition 8; in June 2012, he assumed the helm of the Human Rights Campaign.

social sciences >> The Legacy Walk (Chicago)

The Legacy Walk in Chicago is an outdoor history museum that reclaims and celebrates glbtq contributions to world history and culture.

social sciences >> Milk, Harvey

Harvey Milk, among the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall, making him the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr.

arts >> Van Sant, Gus

One of the most idiosyncratic talents to have emerged from the independent cinema over the past decade and a half, Gus Van Sant is not only matter-of-fact about his sexual orientation, but in his work he also represents homosexuality matter-of-factly.


Christensen, Jen. "A Rip in the Quilt." The Advocate 957 (February 28, 2006).

Bajko, Matthew S. "Quilt Creator Sues The Names Project." Bay Area Reporter (January 22, 2004).

Edwards, Mark. "Jones, Cleve." Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History from World War II to the Present Day. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. London: Routledge, 2001. 218.

Jones, Cleve.

_____, with Jeff Dawson. Stitching a Revolution: The Making of an Activist. San Francisco: Harper, 2000.

Powers, Kevin. "Interview: Cleve Jones--Played by Emile Hirsch in Milk." (November 26, 2008):


    Citation Information
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Jones, Cleve  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated October 12, 2009  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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