Abstract

This article details a 1985 protest organized by black and white parents in two Queens, New York School districts to fight the New York City's Board of Education policy allowing children with AIDS to attend public schools. I examine the Queens anti-AIDS protests to assess the effectiveness of this cross-racial alliance as well as how it functioned in relationship to the rise of political conservatism in the 1980s. I argue that it is necessary to situate these community activists in a context not over-determined by the bifurcated national politics of the period. By revisiting this community-based movement of the 1980s and understanding participants' motivations as well as those of the leadership, we begin to see that this activism acquired its coherence not from ideology, but from the specific circumstances that forced these activists to confront AIDS. While many anti-AIDS and anti-gay activists used phases like "family values," to differentiate themselves from people with AIDS, particularly gay men, parents in Queens, both black and white, found a shared enemy instead in the combined power of the municipal bureaucracy and a remote scientific establishment, paving the way for a political alliance that bridged an otherwise tense racial divide in New York City

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 965-987
Launched on MUSE
2006-07-11
Open Access
No
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