come tonight to bring our silence to an end. I bear a message of
challenge, not self-congratulation. I want your attention, not your
"I would never have
asked to be HIV positive, but I believe that in all things there is
a purpose; and I stand before you and before the nation gladly."
represent an AIDS community whose members have been reluctantly drafted from every segment of American society. Though I am white and a mother, I am one with a black infant struggling with tubes in a Philadelphia hospital. Though I am female and contracted this disease in marriage and enjoy the warm support of my family, I am one with the lonely gay man sheltering a flickering
candle from the cold wind of his family’s rejection."
"HIV is different -- and we have
helped it along. We have killed each other with our ignorance, our prejudice,
and our silence. We may take refuge in our stereotypes, but we cannot hide
there long, because HIV asks only one thing of those it attacks. Are you human?
And this is the right question. Are you human? Because people with HIV have not
entered some alien state of being. They are human."
"We cannot love justice and ignore
prejudice, love our children and fear to teach them. Whatever our role as parent
or policymaker, we must act as eloquently as we speak -- else we have no
integrity. My call to the nation is a plea for awareness. If you believe you are
safe, you are in danger. Because I was not hemophiliac, I was not at risk.
Because I was not gay, I was not at risk. Because I did not inject drugs, I was
not at risk."
Audio of Address