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Lavender Effect Oral History Project to Launch on World AIDS Day

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday Aug 28, 2015

With a $10,000 Cal Humanities' Community Stories grant, matched by $10,000 from the City of West Hollywood, THE LAVENDER EFFECT® will create "YOUNG CITY AT WAR: Stories from West Hollywood During the AIDS Epidemic", a continuation of its groundbreaking Oral History Project.

Aiming to launch on December 1, National AIDS Awareness Day, THE LAVENDER EFFECT® Oral History Project will feature the dramatic and poignant story of West Hollywood's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in its early days. Through in-depth interviews an important chapter of community history will be preserved and made available online for current residents, LGBTQ youth, and the broader public. Educational materials (standards-aligned) will be developed to support use by teachers and student organizations at LAUSD middle and high schools.

"I think it is really important for people today to hear the stories from the mid '80s, stories like mine, because first of all it's our history. And it's important to remember the holocaust that the gay community and their straight allies went through in the '80s and early '90s" - Steve Pieters, Former Global Field Director, AIDS Ministry, Metropolitan Community Church.

"California's population has such a rich and varied story to tell -- and we can all benefit from knowing more about each other," noted Margaret Shelleda, Chair of the board of Cal Humanities. "We are proud to award grants to those who find creative and effective ways of sharing our stories with new audiences and help connect Californians whose histories and experiences deserve greater and deeper appreciation."

Since 2003, Cal Humanities has supported approximately 450 story projects and granted nearly $3.7 million to enable communities to voice, record, and share histories-many previously untold or little known. Through video, photography, murals, zines, documentary theater, audio projects, and more, these collected stories have been shared with broad audiences, both live and virtual. Cal Humanities is an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on Cal Humanities, please visit

THE LAVENDER EFFECT® is a 501(c)3 nonprofit project of Community Partners that is Advancing the Future of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Heritage and Culture. Their Oral History Project captures video testimonies from members of the LGBTQ community and supportive allies who were integral participants or witnesses to a historic event or movement. These recordings are being produced at the highest standards possible (I.E. USC Shoah Foundation's guidelines).

Go to to view 15 interview segments with Southern California Pioneers and to contribute to their movement.

For more information, visit or

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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