ACRIA and GMHC note with great sadness the death of Martin Delaney after a long battle with cancer. Marty was a pioneer of AIDS activism, the founder of Project Inform, and an inspiration to many. We can think of no more fitting tribute than to quote from "The Delaney Declaration" -- a document that he wrote last year:
The entire human population benefited from the way AIDS first struck the gay community. Many people wanted to blame the spread of AIDS on gay people, but the facts are exactly the opposite.
When AIDS hit the gay community ... it struck a group of people who were already organized politically ... it struck a population that already knew it had to fight for its rights ... . It knew it had to take care of its own because no one else would. It knew it had to fight back or die.
AdvertisementWe were in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York ... . We were in the scientific community; we were in the NIH ... We were in the drug companies and in Congress ... . We hollered about AIDS in the media, we went to the FDA and the NIH, we marched in Washington, got people on committees and proposed new ideas and new ways of thinking about science and the treatment of people with terrible diseases.
WE changed the rules, first for ourselves but ultimately for everyone facing a life threatening disease. WE wouldn't just listen to our doctor either. We recognized that they worked for us, that we were in charge of our lives and our bodies. We taught each other to demand that our doctors act as partners, not as dictators.
We became a voice that could counter, when necessary, the messages of the drug companies ... and everything the companies did that affected us. As activists, we formed teams to speak up for our community regarding clinical trials.
Thousands, if not millions, of people with HIV across the globe are alive and healthier today because of Marty's efforts. We express our profound gratitude for his courageous and persistent leadership and take comfort in knowing that he inspired so many to join and continue the fight against AIDS.
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