Ken Ramsauer memorial (participants holding signs reflecting the…

Ken Ramsauer memorial (participants holding signs reflecting the growing number of AIDS victims), Central Park, New York City, June 13, 1983. Photo © Alon Reininger.
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On June 13, 1983, thirty-four years ago today, more than fifteen hundred people gathered in New York City’s Central Park to honor Ken Ramsauer, a New York City hardware store manager and activist who died of AIDS-related illness on May 23, 1983.
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Days before his death, Ramsauer gave a nationally televised interview to Geraldo Rivera on the growing AIDS crisis, bringing much-needed visibility to those living with the disease, and making Ramsauer, as the New York Times described him, “a national symbol of the discrimination and pain suffered by victims of a condition that ravages the body’s immune system.”
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Mourners at the memorial raised candles and held numbered signs to reflect the growing number of New Yorkers lost to AIDS. In a speech, Rivera said that Ramsauer “wanted society to know the discrimination and negative publicity that has allowed this disease a mortal head start.”
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The Ramsauer memorial was one of the first highly-visible events honoring victims of the epidemic. #lgbthistory #HavePrideInHistory #NeverForget #NeverAgain #KenRamsauer #Resist (at Central Park)