Posts tagged: AIDS discrimination

The “Ew” factor : The status of HIV stigma

On March 21, 1994 (back when Stephen Spielberg rocked the mullet), a fresh-faced Tom Hanks double-timed it up the steps of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in L.A. to accept his Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading role.

Pitted against Sir Anthony Hopkins for The Remains of the Day, Daniel Day- Lewis for In the Name of the Father, Lawrence Fishburne in What’s Love Got to Do with It, and Liam Neeson for Schindler’s List, Hanks won his golden statue for his role as a gay man dying of AIDS who combats stigma and discrimination in Philadelphia.

Voice choked with emotion, Hanks ended his speech with a moving cry to action and tolerance:

“I know that my work, in this case, is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels. We know their names. They number a thousand for each one of the red ribbons that we wear here tonight. They finally rest in the warm embrace of the gracious creator of us all – a healing embrace, that cools their fevers, that clears their skin and allows their eyes to see the simple, evident, common-sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all and was written down on paper by wise men, tolerant men in the city of Philadelphia 200 years ago.”

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