book hack

When We Rise

Cleve Jones

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

American LGBTQ+ activist and founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation Cleve Jones recounts his early life, coming out, and involvement in the gay rights movement.


When We Rise

When We Rise

by Cleve Jones


Cleve Jones came of age and came out during the formative years of the gay rights movement. In the early 1970s, Jones moved from the Southwest to San Francisco where he felt immediate acceptance and connection to the city and its vibrant gay scene. It was in San Francisco that Jones became involved with the grassroots community organizing that put him in contact with political figures, such as Harvey Milk, and set him on a path of lifelong social activism.

The impact of the AIDS crisis on members of Jones' community was devastating, and Jones was instrumental in founding the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt to celebrate the lives of those who have died from AIDS-related causes. In his book When We Rise: My Life in the Movement, Jones, who is HIV-positive, details what it was like to live as a gay man and community organizer during such tumultuous times.

Favorite quote

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the challenges that face us. It is easy to be cynical. It is easy to despair. That is when I remember that the movement saved my life. Twice.

- Cleve Jones

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