Following the completion of his Run around America, Nicholson Earle continued his AIDS activism by joining the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), committing his first of many acts of civil disobedience with them at Wall Street II in March of 1988. With ACT UP, he and his mother stormed the FDA and the NIH and he disrupted then Governor Mario Cuomo's press conference announcing his five-year AIDS plan for New York State that was going to remain unfunded for another year because of bureaucratic foot-dragging. Not one of the major New York newspapers deemed the Homecoming of his Run newsworthy but his disruption of Cuomo's conference earned him a photo on the front page of the New York Times Metropolitan Section. Although the Run around America had received good press coverage throughout the U.S., it had never captured the attention of the national media, other than a few sporadic spots on CNN, but in the fall of 1989 in a special end of the decade issue, People Magazine named Nicholson Earle one of the 25 people who shaped the decade and gave the Run the most coverage in the issue with seven pages of text and photographs.
In 1990, as AIDS continued to claim tens of thousands of lives, AREA produced The Rainbow Run for the End of AIDS in collaboration with the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), the NAMES Project Foundation and the Keith Haring Foundation. Nicholson Earle carried the Rainbow Flag a thousand miles as a symbolic “torch” and as an AIDS memorial from San Francisco, the “Athens” of the Gay Games, to the Opening Ceremony of Gay Games III in Vancouver, BC. The Rainbow Run was dedicated to Gay Games Founder, Dr. Tom Waddell and artist Keith Haring. In 1994, AREA produced another event called The Rainbow Roll for the End of AIDS, once again in memory of Waddell and Haring and again in collaboration with the organizations from the Rainbow Run, as well as New York in ’94 and local Gay Games teams and AIDS organizations across America. Nicholson Earle led a team of six in-line skaters over 4,300 miles from San Francisco to New York for the Opening of Gay Games IV and the Stonewall 25 March.
Following in the tradition established by the first two events to bring the Rainbow Flag from San Francisco to the current Gay Games Host City, AREA has presented since 1998The International Rainbow Memorial Run (IRMR) to the past five subsequent Gay Games with the ongoing support of the FGG, NAMES Project, Keith Haring Foundation, International Front Runners and Gay Games Host Organizations. The event has evolved into a series of memorial runs, receptions and Quilt Displays in which the Rainbow Flag and AREA’s Memorial Quilt Squares were brought from San Francisco to the past Gay Games Host cities and finally to each current Gay Games Host. AREA is already working on preparations for the sixth International Rainbow Memorial Run to Gay Games X in Paris in the Summer of 2018.
Since 1992, AREA has produced twenty-three Out of the Darkness Gatherings and Candlelight Marches on the 1st of December in observance of World AIDS Day and in collaboration with many different groups over the years. These events have provided opportunities for the public to gather together to remember loved ones lost to AIDS, to support those who are living with or are at risk for HIV/AIDS, to raise levels of awareness about AIDS and HIV prevention, and to gain strength and solidarity in the fight against AIDS.
On December 1, 1995, AREA began an effort to have an AIDS awareness postal stamp reissued. After letters to government officials and the United States Postal Service failed to bring about this request, AREA embarked on a campaign of lobbying, letter writing, and petitioning. AREA’s goal is to not only have an AIDS awareness stamp reissued but to also ensure its availability until the AIDS pandemic is over. Over the years petitions with a combined total of more than 100,000 signatures have been sent to the Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee of the U.S. Postal Service. Although the campaign has yet to achieve its goal of reviving this effective means of maintaining AIDS awareness in America, AREA’s efforts will continue because the need for comprehensive AIDS education and prevention in this country is still so great
Some of the churches and organizations with whom AREA has worked over the years include the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP-New York); Advent Lutheran Church; AXIOS (Eastern Orthodox LGBT Christians); Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; Broadway United Church of Christ; the Federation of Gay Games; Friends in Deed; Front Runners New York; Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC); God’s Love We Deliver; Heritage of Pride; Housing Works; International AIDS Prevention Initiative (IAPI); International Front Runners; Judson Memorial Church; the Keith Haring Foundation; Latinos/as Unidos de New York; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center; Lifebeat; LIFE DANCE; Metropolitan Community Church of New York; the Muse Foundation; the NAMES Project Foundation; New York City Faith In Action; Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE); Silent Voices United, Inc.; Trinity Lutheran Church; Trinity Place Shelter; 24 Hours For Life and Visual AIDS; as well as numerous other local churches; organizations; GLBT running clubs and sports teams in communities around the world where AREA events have taken place. Other ongoing efforts under AREA's aegis include the Long Term Survivor Group of New York and the Danny Garvin Fund for LGBT Causes.
The year 2016-2017 will mark the 30th Anniversary of AREA's twenty month founding event around America and we will be continuing our archival efforts of the Run and the more than thirty year struggle against AIDS. We are also participating in the task force for Stonewall 50, ensuring that there will be comprehensive AIDS education and prevention throughout the fifty days of events celebrating the birth of the modern LGBT civil rights movement in the early Summer of 2019. Ever since its founding event almost 30 years ago, AREA’s mission has been to work together with various groups to help educate people about HIV transmission, to challenge communities to show support and compassion for people living with HIV/AIDS, to actively participate in the education and prevention process and to inspire volunteerism.
Thomas W. Faucett
May 1, 1960 - March 21, 2016
The Board Members, Volunteers and Supporters of the American Run for the End of AIDS mourn Tom's passing and pay tribute to his many years of service to AREA and the fight against AIDS.
Tom served as our volunteer Executive Director from 1995 to 2001, during which time he produced all of our major events including Party of Life V in 1995, the 10th Anniversary Celebrations of the Launch and Homecoming of the Run Around America, five of our Out of the Darkness Gatherings and Candlelight Marches, and the first International Rainbow Memorial Run from San Francisco to Amsterdam for Gay Games V in 1998.