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World AIDS Day Die-In (1990)

Happy Foundation

Silent | 1990

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  •  Steve Bailey of the San Antonio Lesbian and Gay Media Project gives a television interview about the purpose of the demonstration 
  •  The die-in begins after the clock strikes 12 
  •  Whistle blowing begins 
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This home video captures a die-in demonstration at San Antonio’s Patio of States on December 1, 1990—World AIDS Day. Arts for Life organized the protest as a “Day Without Art,” focusing on the many artists and creators lost to the disease. First observed in 1988, World AIDS Day is an official global public heath campaign by the World Health Organization dedicated to raising AIDS awareness as well as mourning those who have died of the disease. In the footage, demonstrators say the name of an artist who passed away before lying down on the ground. Before the demonstration, organizer Steve Bailey talks with the assembled press about the purpose of the die-in and the need for AIDS research funding.
The Happy Foundation is a non-profit archive dedicated to the preservation of San Antonio’s LGBTQ history. Founder and curator Gene Elder began collecting materials in 1988, ultimately moving the collection to a back room of the downtown gay nightclub Bonham Exchange. The organization is named after Arthur “Happy” Veltman, a San Antonio entrepreneur who died of AIDS in 1988. In addition to owning multiple gay bars, including Bonham Exchange, Veltman was also involved in the development of the San Antonio River Walk and Blue Star Arts Complex.