Why are we here together today? We’re here because it is happening to us, and we do give a shit. And if there were more of us [it] wouldn’t be what it is at this moment in history…ignorant people have turned into an excuse to exercise the bigotry they have always felt.
It is more than a horror story, exploited by the tabloids. [It] is really a test of us, as a people. When future generations ask what we did in this crisis, we’re going to have to tell them that we were out here today. And we have to leave the legacy to those generations of people who will come after us.
Someday, the…crisis will be over. Remember that. And when that day comes — when that day has come and gone, there’ll be people alive on this earth — gay people and straight people, men and women, black and white, who will hear the story that once there was a terrible disease in this country and all over the world, and that a brave group of people stood up and fought and, in some cases, gave their lives, so that other people might live and be free.
So, I’m proud to be with my friends today and the people I love, because I think you’re all heroes, and I’m glad to be part of this fight. But, to borrow a phrase from Michael Callen’s song: all we have is love right now, what we don’t have is time.
I watched How to Survive a Plague with students in my summer immersion program. I don’t have enough words to walk you through that if you’ve not yet tuned in for yourself. But someone who does have words is the guy who said the ones above here– Vito Russo.
He was an ACT UP activist during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US. And that epidemic is exactly what that excerpt from one of his speeches is about. But I can think of so many more injustices and struggles in our current time for which this pep talk could be re-given…
So I guess mostly what I’m wondering is, why are you waiting to take up the cause (any just cause!) and make change happen? The world needs more Vitos to GSD.