Cleve Jones interviewed by Towleroad.com in front of the White House during the October 2009 National Equality March. Photo courtesy Michael Goff, via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.
Cleve Jones interviewed by Towleroad.com in front of the White House during the October 2009 National Equality March. Photo courtesy Michael Goff, via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Veteran activist Cleve Jones will speak on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill during a week-long celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work.

On Jan. 19, Jones, who was portrayed by actor Emile Hirsch in the 2008 film “Milk,” will discuss the challenges he faces as an activist and his view that gay and lesbian rights are needed to actualize the equality that King envisioned, according to a press release from the campus’ Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

Jones is the founder of the National AIDS Quilt and made one of the first high profile calls for a national march for LGBT equality in Washington, D.C., in 2009. He later served as co-chair of the National Equality March.

In an interview with qnotes before the October 2009 march, Jones stressed the importance of not wasting time or momentum. He said the movement after the loss of California’s Prop. 8 battle was an “historic moment” he’d never witnessed before. Jones believes the community should focus on national efforts to gain full federal equality.

“I think the old strategy of fighting state-by-state, county-by-county, city-by-city is a failed strategy,” he said. “The time has come to focus on federal action.”

Jones will speak on campus Jan. 19, 7 p.m., in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union’s Great Hall. For more information, visit unc.edu/diversity/mlk/.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.