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Remembering those we lost: Day 1

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Remembering Joshua Patrick Wells, on the right (Image: The AIDS Memorial)

This week, the Blade commemorates this Sunday’s World AIDS Day by highlighting stories of individual Los Angeleans who have fallen in the battle against HIV.

These daily tributes serve to remind us of all who have been lost to the disease. They are drawn from the archives of The AIDS Memorial, a non-profit organization that operates popular pages on several social media platforms, in the spirit of their motto, “What is remembered, lives.”

Today we feature the story of Joshua Patrick Wells:

“Joshua Patrick Wells (pictured right) (March 2, 1964 – December 16, 2016) was a club promoter and AIDS activist who died of AIDS in Willowbrook, Los Angeles. He was 52 years old.

Well’s partner, Steven Allan Ernst (pictured left) (November 30, 1965 – November 8, 1996) also died of AIDS. He was 30 years old.

Wells, who attended @vikingssamohi and studied photography at @sanfranciscostate, is considered a pioneer in the underground club scene in Los Angeles, creating clubs such as Plastic Passion, Dirt Box, Scream and Egg Salad. In 1991, Wells began opening commercial clubs, including The Firehouse (later DeVille’s) in West Hollywood.

As an AIDS activist, Wells was one of the leaders of the ACT UP demonstrations at the Republican Convention in Houston, Texas in 1992. He also organised art auctions which raised thousands of dollars to help in the battle against AIDS.

In 1992, Wells and artist Renee Edgington (1959 -1999) began ‘Clean Needles Now,’ a mobile needle exchange program in Los Angeles, providing drug users access to clean and sterile needles, syringes and other equipment as well as the safe disposal of used needles and syringes.

In 2008 Wells relocated to Oakland, California, attending @laneycollege before transferring to @ucberkeleyofficial, while serving as a commissioner on the Alameda/Contra Costa County Commission on AIDS. He also spent a summer term studying at @cambridgeuniversity.

In 2013, Wells graduated from @ucberkeleyofficial with honors in Medical Sociology. He intended to do graduate study and then move into international AIDS work. However having lived with HIV since 1991 and the condition taking its toll, he moved to Ventura, Southern California to be closer to his mother in 2014.”

 

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Television

AIDS @40- “It’s a Sin”: Drama at the beginning of the AIDS crisis

The show, which features a largely LGBTQ cast, shines a light on a dark chapter that’s been fading from memory.

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Graphic via CBS News Sunday Morning

LONDON – CBS Sunday Morning reports on the acclaimed HBO Max series, “It’s a Sin.” Produced by the originator of the hit British series ‘Queer As Folks,’ “It’s a Sin” tells the story of a group of gay men and their friends who live and love in London in the early 1980s, at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

The show, which features a largely LGBTQ cast, shines a light on a dark chapter that’s been fading from memory. CBS Correspondent Imtiaz Tyab talks with the show’s producer-writer, Russell T. Davies, and with two of its stars: Neil Patrick Harris and Lydia West.

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Online Culture

Digital platform joins with It Gets Better for Pride-themed content

The online world can be a scary place, and it can still be difficult to “find your people” there without a little help

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Graphic provided by StreamElements

LOS ANGELES – The age of online communication has made it easier for LGBTQ+ people to connect with their community than ever before. This is especially valuable for young people, who don’t feel safe being out in their real-life environment, or who are isolated, whether by geography or prevailing social attitudes, from larger LGBTQ+ populations. Yet the online world, just like the real one, can be a scary place, and it can still be difficult to “find your people” there without a little help.

That’s why StreamElements, a platform which powers over 1.1 million digital content creators across Twitch, YouTube Live, and Facebook Gaming, is stepping up to provide assistance. The company is partnering with the It Gets Better Project for a new campaign that aims to help create safer and more inclusive LGBTQ spaces online, providing support for the community during Pride Month and beyond. 

As part of the campaign, StreamElements is:

  • Donating $25,000 to the It Gets Better Project and 100% of the proceeds from Prime-themed merchandise. It Gets Better, of course, is a nonprofit organization that leverages the power of media to reach and provide critical support and hope to LGBTQ+ young people around the world.
  • Collaborating with and commissioning graphics from LGBTQ+ artists Jaime Hayde and Andrea Marroquín, which will be used on special merchandise items for charity and shared with the broader streaming community for use in their individual merch stores.
  • Creating special overlays and alerts that feature the Pride-themed art for livestreamers to use on their channels. This “SuperTheme” can be used at various stages of a livestreamed broadcast and incorporates art from Hayde.
  • Spotlighting LGBTQ+ creators throughout the month via its social media channels, highlighting their work and including videos where they will share their journey and comment on what Pride means to them.

The initiative was spearheaded Sean Horvath, CRO of StreamElements and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, who says, “Pride has always been an important part of my life. Seeing StreamElements partner with LGBTQ+ content creators and the highly impactful Its Gets Better Project to drive social change is a significant milestone, especially for myself and many other members of our staff who are part of the community we’re celebrating. Our goal with this campaign is to not only shine a light on all the amazing things Pride represents, but to continue our previous commitment to supporting diversity by ensuring the efforts we put forward are prominent year-round.”

You can find out more at the StreamElements website.

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Sports

Out track star heads to Tokyo as video of her hugging her Gran goes viral

Her moment of victory and celebration with her Gran was caught on video and later shared thousands of times on Twitter

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Sha'Carri Richardson (Screenshot via NBC Sports on YouTube)

EUGENE, Or. – A 21-year-old out female sprinter is headed to the summer Olympic games in Tokyo after winning the 100-meter heat and securing a coveted spot as part of the U.S. women’s team in the Olympic trials that were held at the newly renovated Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in Eugene this past weekend.

Sha’Carri Richardson, a former Louisiana State University (LSU) sprinter put on an amazing run, afterwards telling NBC News Sports that her biological mother died just a week before the qualifying Olympic trials. Richardson, who celebrated her win by running up the Hayward Field stairs to hug her grandmother, says that family means everything.

“My family has kept me grounded,” Richardson said. “This year has been crazy for me. Going from just last week losing my biological mother passed away and still choosing to pursue my dream, still coming out here and still trying to make the family that I still have on this earth proud.”

Her moment of victory and celebration with her Gran was caught on video and later shared thousands of times on Twitter including by Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The sprinter also took time to thank her girlfriend who she had said inspires her, and also picked out her hair color. “My girlfriend actually picked my [hair] color,” Richardson said. “She said it like spoke to her, the fact that it was just so loud and vibrant, and that’s who I am.”

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