The first person I ever knew with Aids was 37 years old. Still yet I’ve not met another person so courageous. Our national awareness didn’t rise in time for him. Back in the day, I did a research project on the aids movement and awareness, the history of this disease and the cultural responses blew my mind.
I talked with the amazing people at ACTUP and had a chance to interview some of the great advocates of the movement like Sean Strub ( check out his AMAZING book, “Body Counts” ). As my awareness grew, I realized and that we repeat over and over again the way we treat people not “like” us.
I began to observe a three-step cycle:
- we operate from fear,
- then complacency,
- then compassion.
It seems to go in that order and a lot of harm happens in those first two phases. Compassion came way too late for so many people, my friends, our friends. But it did come… and along with it brought ideas and innovation and true miracles.
If we want to really help each other and if we say we’re committed to making the world better, I doubt we can eliminate fear or complacency, but we can speed up the process and get to compassion faster.
It takes work, practicing non-judgement, setting aside what we know and what we think we know for an open mind and new experience. If you study history, you know we’re capable, it’s possible and it’s our responsibility.
Silence = Death
John Regan, thanks for the great picture, your talent and your commitment to making the world more beautiful.