Cleve Jones joined the gay liberation movement in the 1970s, after moving to San Francisco and meeting Harvey Milk. He was involved in the historic Coors strike and boycott, in response to racist and homophobic hiring practices by the brewing giant.
In the early 80s, Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, which has grown to be one of the largest and most powerful organizations empowering people with AIDS. He also conceived the idea for the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, which is now the world’s largest piece of community folk art, and created the first quilt square to honor a friend who had succumbed to AIDS.
He led the National March for Equality in Washington, D.C. in 2009 and was a member of the advisory board for the American Foundation for Equal Rights and has worked within the labor movement to help organizations address homophobia. More recently, Jones partnered with UNITE Here to help make the hospitality industry, and the labor movement, safer and more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ workers.