"If we're up to working together—to putting in the work—the movement that saved my life can save America’s too."
LGBTQ and Labor activist; author of When We Rise: My Life in the Movement
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An ambrosial read, masterfully interweaving major historical events with juicy personal details of romance and heartbreak.
Now more than ever we must understand the history of queer activism in order to successfully continue on the legacy of those who came before us... We all need to read [When We Rise].
Jones takes readers on his thrilling, if perilous, voyage from fey, long-haired teen hitching his way from his home in Arizona to San Francisco, to becoming the mentee of Harvey Milk ... Jones survives San Francisco's viciously homophobic police in the '70s and, later, the AIDS epidemic that took his dearest friends. In the process, he helps mobilize the anguished, fiery momentum of LGBTQ rights in the United States.
Some people witness history; other actually make it happen. Cleve Jones, by planting himself boldly in the eye of the storm, has succeeded brilliantly at doing both.
-Armistead Maupin, New York Times bestselling author of the Tales of the City series
I loved this amazing, inspiring, and sometimes outrageous book. When We Rise is about the building of a movement—and the building of Cleve Jones, who came to San Francisco as a teenage adventurer and transformed into an activist whose contributions helped change the course of gay history.
-Gus Van Sant
Cleve Jones is a history buff who has himself become part of history. He has been at the epicenter of the LGBT movement for over 45 years. Now, in When We Rise, Cleve takes us along on his personal journey in the fight for equal rights—a journey filled with humor, sadness, love and ultimately profound change.
You could read Cleve Jones’s book because you should know about the struggle for gay, lesbian, and transgender rights from one of its key participants—maybe heroes—but really, you should read it for pleasure and joy. It’s an incredibly vivid evocation of a bygone era and a poignant story of someone who started out feeling like the only gay person in the world and ended up organizing millions of them. I loved it for the firsthand history, and the crazily great details about drag queens, radical excess, passionate idealism, how to change the world and everything else that matters most.
-Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me
When We Rise is a song to what's best in us, when we join together in a movement that takes us higher. The story Cleve Jones tells-of a bullied boy from the sun-blasted Arizona suburbs, who finds an extended family among the street kids of San Francisco and then within the gay movement that revolutionized the world-is thrilling to read. The path to freedom is littered with the names of fallen loved ones. But through all the sorrows and setbacks, Jones persevered-and the movement for human liberation that he helped lead still rises.
-David Talbot, bestselling author of The Season of the Witch and The Devil's Chessboard
Cleve Jones is an activist, lecturer, and author of When We Rise. Mentored by pioneer LGBT activist Harvey Milk, Cleve co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1983 and founded The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, one of the world’s largest community arts project. See what Cleve is up to today as an organizer for the hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE.