Alum Cleve Jones Helped Inspire ABC Miniseries 'When We Rise'

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Photo of Cleve Jones wearing a tuxedo

MONSTERS AND CRITICS -- His career began in 1970s San Francisco when he became friends with Harvey Milk, the well-known gay-rights leader whose story formed the basis for 2008 Sean Penn movie “Milk.”

Jones combined his study of political science at San Francisco State University with work as an intern in Milk’s office.

In the early 1980s Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and came up with the idea for the AIDS Memorial Quilt at a memorial for Milk in 1985. The AIDS Memorial Quilt has grown over the years and is now the biggest community arts project in the world.

Jones himself is HIV positive and has been since the late 1970s. He was a part of the early drug trials and has described the rapid effect the treatment had on his condition.

Working tirelessly to help the LGBTQ community, Jones is also heavily involved in the Sleep With the Right People campaign, which asks LGBTQ tourists to only choose hotels that respect their employees’ rights.

Appearing on marches and in documentaries is part and parcel of Jones’ activism, and he led the National March for Equality in 2009. In November 2016 he published a book about his experiences called “When We Rise: My Life in the Movement.”

Photo by Greg Hernandez/Greg in Hollywood